Pakistan (above) are coming of a 2-2 draw in the just concluded four-match Test series against England © Getty Images
Pakistan (above) are coming of a 2-2 draw in the just concluded four-match Test series against England © Getty Images

Waqar Younis, former Pakistan coach, hailed Pakistan Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq for Pakistan’s rise to the top of the ICC Test Rankings, alongside also praising his positive intent along with calmness, which were the key to Pakistan’s success. Waqar also said that every Pakistani would be enjoying the moment, and the achievements the team has gained recently. Pakistan are coming of a 2-2 draw in the just concluded four-match Test series against England, as they rose to the top two and put pressure on India, alongside Sri Lanka whitewashing Australia 3-0. However, following the final Test draw between India and West Indies, Pakistan shot up to the top with 111 points, while India slipped to the second spot with 110. Pakistan dethrone India to become No. 1 team in Test cricket

“It’s a proud moment for the whole nation. It’s a huge moment for Misbah and for the entire team, as all the hard work finally paid off. It’s always the ultimate dream to become the No. 1 team in the world, and there is no team other than Pakistan that deserves to be at the top. They suffered a lot in last seven-eight years but they have played outstanding cricket all along,” Waqar said to ESPNcricinfo.

“There were a lot of problems in the background – those controversies and especially cricket not being played in the country and the boys being always on the road and away from home. So that is the major part I feel the team should be proud off. We kept moving forward after every hurdle, never stayed down and kept on fighting against all odds. That struggle makes this a remarkable moment for the country,” he added. Collingwood warns PAK to beware of Mark Wood

Waqar was Pakistan coach on two different occasions, with the first coming between March 2010 and August 2011, where he traveled for five overseas series, thus winning and losing one, while the rest of the three series were drawn. During his second stint, between May 2012 and April 2016, Pakistan won four series, alongside losing and drawing one, as Pakistan climbed to the top for the first time in the history of Test cricket. Just 10 days prior to the England tour in 2016, Waqar was replaced by South Africa’s Mickey Arthur.

“I am honestly touched and, no, it’s not about taking credit for what I have done. I would rather give full credit to Misbah-ul-Haq, who has shown resilience against his critics and never spoke a harsh word when things were going wrong. People were crushing him down because of his style of play, but now I think those people should be proud as Pakistanis. What else could you want from him? He did everything in his own way and, whether or not people like his way, it is working for the country and has taken us to the top of the world. What else do you want to achieve?” said Waqar. PAK vs ENG: Willey ruled out of ODI series

“It was Misbah’s honesty and good intent that made a huge difference. His positive intentions and his characteristics are outstanding. His calmness – I have never seen him cursing his critics. Even though former and current players let him down, he never responded. But look what he has achieved. This is the kind of thing that made him the best. Pakistan is the team that deserves to be the No. 1 side,” he added.

Pakistan during the late 1990s had quite a few big names in the side, with most of them achieving individual feat, but none were successful in giving Pakistan the good edge. Alongside Waqar, Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Saeed Anwar and Shoaib Akhtar were also few of the great players Pakistan had produced during the period. However, none have done what the present team has managed to do so, including the No. 1 Test team in the world.

“We were very good individually and were differen. It’s not like we didn’t win much, but we were not the No. 1 team. That is why I feel more proud of this present team. Because this team is more gelled, know their role and are very well settled. Of course, these are not yet great players – none apart from Younis Khan has reached that mark – but they have done what we in the ’90s were not able to do. This team could easily have fallen short of greatness, but they have achieved it with their hard work and unity.” said Waqar.

“We struggled to step up in limited-overs cricket, which has a reason as well; we didn’t change ourselves to adapt to modern cricket. But in Tests it is relatively easier to rise, because it hasn’t changed that much. Test cricket has been played for 150 years and it has always been played in one spirit and one style of game. It was easy and of course our experienced players like Younis Khan, Misbah, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq in the last few years have all contributed really well,” he added.

“In recent times, there are so many players who have come through my era. Players like Saeed Ajmal, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Yasir Shah have done a great job to take Pakistan to certain level and it gives me immense happiness for them as I feel like a father figure to them. It gives me goosebumps thinking about what they have achieved. I hope they continue this for long, and keep the country’s name up and alive at the top of the world,” Waqar concluded.