The ICC has announced that it will present the test mace- the trophy awarded to the no.1 ranked team in test cricket- to Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq on 21st September 2016 at Qazzafi Stadium Lahore. President ICC Dave Richardson will present the trophy at 10 30 am PST, which will be followed by a press meeting at 11 am.
Pakistan acquired the no.1 ranking following their 2-2 series stalemate in England, aided by the rain in the last test between India and West Indies which ensured the series ended 2-0. Australia, who previously held the no.1 ranking, lost 3-0 to Sri Lanka in the same period.
This marks a remarkable turnaround for a team that was forced to play all its matches away from home following the events in 2009, and had to deal with the spot-fixing controversy which not only marred its reputation, but also stripped the team of 3 of its most important players at the time. Misbah ul Haq has led by example for more than 6 years, in spite of his advancing age, and heavy criticism early on in his stint. It just seems fitting that Pakistan rose to the top of the rankings in the same place where they experienced their lowest cricketing moment.
For however long Pakistan keep the mace, this time will always serve as a reminder of the remarkable abilities of Pakistan cricket to bounce back from difficulties, and to be the very best in the world. Pakistan are unbeaten in their last 6 test series, all without having played at home in more than 6 years. Whatever you may say about UAE, it is not home. Players still have to go away from families and friends, and the support can never match that of the home crowd. Let’s hope cricket returns to Pakistan, a nation so deserving, and soon.