Misbah-ul-Haq described Pakistan’s confirmation as the number one Test team in the world as “the greatest moment of his career”.
The 42-year-old veteran, who has led his country in the past 46 Test matches, celebrated the news after India’s drawn fourth Test against the West Indies on Monday (22) helped Pakistan climb above their subcontinent rivals.
“The number one ranking is a reward for something we had planned as a group a few years ago and have worked extremely hard to achieve it. To top the Test table, which boasts some of the best sides and players, is something to be very proud of.
“Our long-term objective and strategy is to remain competitive, continue to challenge the top sides with good cricket, and once again become the most followed side like the Pakistan teams of yesteryears.
“If we can achieve these on a consistent basis, I am sure there will more laurels like this down the line.”
Pakistan put themselves in the position to top the charts after winning the final Test against England earlier this month. The 2-2 series draw meant India had to beat the Windies this week to stay ahead.
Meanwhile, India captain Virat Kohli made light of losing the top ranking to Pakistan in the aftermath of the abandoned fourth and final match of the series against the West Indies in Trinidad on Monday.
“I said at the time that getting to number one was always a short-term incentive,” said Kohli at the post-match ceremony. “Other teams have played 10-15 more Tests than us so it will keep switching. We can judge ourselves better at the end of our home season.”
India are scheduled to play 13 Tests at home over the next six months.
It is the first time Pakistan has been number one since the rankings were introduced in 2003. The history-making feat is even more incredible given the fact they haven’t played a five-day match on home soil since the gun attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.
The team have played their ‘home’ ties in the United Arab Emirates ever since. This was then quickly followed by the infamous match-fixing scandal a year later in England which saw Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir jailed.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan added: “The ascension to the top of the ICC Test rankings culminates an incredible journey for Pakistan cricket.
“This is a historic moment in our rich Test cricket history. The credit for this great achievement goes not only to this team but to all the players, coaches and support staff members who have represented Pakistan in recent years.”
The ICC will present a special trophy to Pakistan next month. If Pakistan remain number one until the April 1, 2017, cut-off date, they will also receive $1 million in prize money.
New coach Mickey Arthur was pleased but insisted the work had only just begun and wants to improve their lowly position of ninth in the one-day rankings.
“It’s a fantastic achievement and a lot of people deserve the credit for that, but the top of them all will be the players who have worked hard and been outstanding,” he said.
“I am the lucky coach who has been with the team now but others have done well. People may say it’s easier to get there than to remain there, so we need to keep that momentum, and improve in the one-dayers.”