New selectors need to be in touch with reality to deliver

Virat Kohli might have wistfully looked at Misbah Ul-Haq receiving the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test mace for the No.1 ranking as India prepares for the first of 13 Tests at home this season.

With a little luck and organisational abilities of the West Indies board and Trinidad & Tobago cricket authorities in getting the Queens Park Oval fit to play, Kohli and India would have had a fair chance of winning the series 3-0 and with it, the mace.

Pakistan thoroughly deserved to raise the mace, Misbah’s side did what the Indians could not in England in 2014. After drawing the high-scoring first Test and winning the second, India surrendered the initiative to lose the next three Tests badly, two by an innings and the other by 266 runs.

A look at the way Pakistan fought back to draw the four-Test series 2-2 will convince even the most diehard Indian fan that the neighbours are the rightful owners of the mace for 2015-16. Pakistan won the first Test, then lost the next two, and recovered to take the fourth and last Test by 10 wickets to become the No.1 Test nation while India cursed the rain and the shoddy ground management in Port of Spain.

Any detached cricket admirer will be happy for Misbah, who, in his 40s, may not get another chance to lead Pakistan to No.1 in the world rankings, even if Kohli deserved all the sympathies. Pakistan did not treat their elder statesmen like Misbah and Younis Khan as some kind of age-barred players.

The Pakistanis have not seen international cricket at home for seven years and just as well Misbah received the mace from the ICC Chief Executive David Richardson at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the venue where the terrorists ended Pakistan’s hopes of hosting cricket to outside world by attacking the Sri Lankan Test team in 2009.

India still has a cause to celebrate. They will be playing their 500th Test match Green Park, Kanpur, the first of a three-Test series against New Zealand, starting Tursday.

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