Pakistan can only open up the gap with fifth-ranked Australia if it wins both Tests
Zimbabwe pulled out of playing Test cricket in January 2006 and, since its return to the Test arena in August 2011 after a gap of five years, it has been unranked, having not played the requisite eight qualifying Tests to be part of the rankings table.
But at the end of the two-Test series against fourth-ranked Pakistan, scheduled to start in Harare on Tuesday, Zimbabwe will return to the table ahead of Bangladesh in ninth position, irrespective of how the series pans out.
Apart from the incentive of returning to the Test Team Rankings table, Zimbabwe has an opportunity to collect a few points to help it narrow the gap with eighth-ranked New Zealand.
Zimbabwe can return with as many as 47 points, but, to achieve this, the side will have to win the series 2-0. A 1-0 series victory will put Zimbabwe on 43 ratings points, while, in the case of a 0-0 or a 1-1 result, Zimbabwe will re-enter with 34 ratings points.
For fourth-ranked Pakistan, the series offers an opportunity to gain two ratings points if it wins both matches. In this scenario, Pakistan would move to 104 ratings points, 12 behind third-ranked India and three ahead of fifth-ranked Australia.
A 1-0 score line will not see any gain for Pakistan, but will help it retain its pre-series rank of fourth.
The Test Championship table, unlike the ODI Championship table, is updated only after the conclusion of the series. To find out exactly how the forthcoming Test series will affect the Championship table, please click here.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will enter the two-match series with as many as four batsmen inside the top 20 of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen.
Younus Khan, in eighth position, is the highest-ranked batsman, while Azhar Ali is in 12th spot, captain Misbah-ul-Haq is occupying 16th position and Asad Shafiq is in 19th place – a position he shares with Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene.
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor is the highest-ranked batsman from his side, in 38th place.
The Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen is headed by Hashim Amla with West Indies’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul in second place and South Africa batsman AB de Villiers in third position.
Pakistan’s off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is the highest-ranked bowler on either side in fourth place on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.
The Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers is still headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn, with Vernon Philander in second place and Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath in third place.
Zimbabwe v Pakistan
3-7 Sep: First Test, Harare
10-14 Sep: Second Test, Bulawayo
Zimbabwe is currently unranked, as it has played insufficient matches. It has 183 points and a rating of 23.
(Developed by David Kendix)