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Rankings system stumps Afridi

Afridi, who aims at improving the team’s ranking, has criticised the system which offers virtually no points after victories against lower-ranked opponents.

KARACHI: Pakistan take on the West Indies in the third One-Day International (ODI) today with more than just the series win in mind.

The visitors lead the five-match series 2-0 and victory in Bridgetown will mean Pakistan remain undefeated in the last five series between the two sides. But the fact that it does not earn Pakistan a single rating point in the International Cricket Council (ICC) ODI Championship has baffled captain Shahid Afridi whose aim is to improve the team’s ranking.

Pakistan, currently sixth, will stay put even if they whitewash the series and Afridi questioned the system that offers little reward against lower-ranked opponents. However, even a 4-1 or 3-2 win against the ninth-placed West Indies means a drop in points for Pakistan since they are expected to beat the hosts.

“I can’t understand this system,” Afridi told The Express Tribune from Bridgetown. “There should be some advantage for the visiting sides as winning a series is never easy for them no matter who they’re playing against.”

The all-rounder said that the system is difficult for the lower-ranked teams.

“It’s really difficult to prosper under the current ranking system. I have little clue what it’s based on.”

Afridi is not the first captain to criticise the ICC Ranking System, which also drew criticism from former Sri Lanka captain Kumara Sangakkara who termed it as ‘unfair’.

‘Series win first priority’

Despite no incentive in improving the rankings, Afridi said his side remained focused to seal the series, which was always the first priority.

“We’ll give our best to seal the series which is our main focus. It will boost the morale of the young team. The conditions will be a bit overcast and that will be taken into consideration.”

Captain happy with youngsters

Afridi added that he was satisfied with the performance of his young brigade that has done well so far.

“I’m happy with the performance of the young players and they are stepping up to the challenge,” said Afridi while hoping for a better show from left-arm fast-bowler Junaid Khan in the remainder of the series. “It’s not appropriate to expect a youngster to become a star overnight. He needs time and hopefully he would improve in the remaining matches.”

Khan, who made his international debut on the ongoing tour, has played two ODIs and a Twenty20 but is yet to get off the mark in the wickets column.