The long walk to the top is complete. The cornered tigers are officially the number 1 ranked team in the world. Oh between, they have not played a single test in their own backyard since 2009. This is a remarkable and unparalleled achievement as historically teams have risen up to the first spot on the basis of excellent home record. Most recently, the Indian team rose to the number 1 ranking with away wins only against the 8th ranked West Indies or the 7th placed Sri Lankan team. The journey was not that simple. The last time they played home was back when iPhone was 2 years old, Twitter was a 3 year old baby and world had no idea what Instagram or Snapchat is. Younis Khan was still leading the test team and a certain Saeed Ajmal or Muhammad Amir was yet to reach the heights and lows (in case of the latter). The country saw one of the darkest days in its history when Srilankan team was attacked in broad daylight during a test match. Later, things got worse team as Pakistani cricket faced one difficulty after another. The lowest point in recent cricket history came in 2010 when three regular players including the captain were found to be involved in a spot fixing scandal which led to their ban and imprisonment. Suddenly, the team was without a captain and lost one of the most proficient bowling attacks of recent times. Amidst of all chaos, the board recalled the forgotten and ignored Younis Khan and appointed a certain lesser known, non-regular and aging Misbah ul Haq as captain. The two players who would later become the corner stone of the team`s rise. Misbah and Co. started their journey at their new “home ground”, the UAE which hosts a large number of people from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Their first test was a series against the in-form mighty South Africans where they earned hard fought draws in both tests with Younis hitting a century and Misbah`s solid batting earning him praise by critics. This was followed by an impressive away series win over the New Zealand team, followed by a drawn series in the West Indies. Pakistan avenged the series loss against Srilanka at UAE while winning away series in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. England played Pakistan for the first time since the spot fixing scandal when they toured UAE for a three match test series. England`s morale was sky high with their Ashes success and were the top ranked test team in the world. What happened next was something nobody expected where Saeed Ajmal dazzled them with 24 wickets leading Pakistan to whitewash the opposing team. The cornered tigers were back in the global cricket scenario. But they were brought back to earth by successive away series defeat by Srilanka and South Africa where the latter whitewashed them in the three match series. Things got worse when Pakistan lost to the lowly ranked but a highly spirited Zimbabwe team. The team restored some pride by drawing the next two series against the old nemesis Srilanka and South Africa in UAE while the former inflicting further humiliation with a two-nil dominant victory in Srilanka. People had very less or none expectations when Australia visited UAE to play a two test series. After all, Pakistan had failed to win a test against them since 1995 though they were treated unfairly in Hobert 1999 while they choked superbly in 2010 Sydney test. What happened next was quite unimaginable, Pakistan not only comprehensively won the two test series but the world sat in awe while Misbah ul Haq equaled Viv Richard`s record for fastest test century. A 40 year old player who holds record for most ODI runs without a century and a 1990`s strike rate of 73.75. A certain Yasir Shah rose to fame and with Zulfiqar Babar dismantled the Aussie. Pakistan drew the next series against the in-form New Zealanders before winning the test series in Bangladesh. Pakistan met Srilanka yet again in UAE in 2015 for a three match series. Pakistan won the first match comprehensively, before Srilanka squared the series in the second. The general feeling was that the third match was heading to a certain draw when Srilanka set a target of 377. Misbah and Co had different ideas though, they ended day at a healthy 230/2 and chased it down with a loss of only one more wicket. The ever dependable Younis and Misbah finished the match and once again the cornered tigers emerged victorious from a difficult situation. Pakistan welcomed back the Ashes winning English team in UAE for three match series. The English were determined to prove critics wrong and taste success but were undone by the spin of Yasir Shah who bagged 24 wickets leading Pakistan to a comprehensive victory. The general mood of the English camp was bitter and there were statements by certain players that they`ll see what Pakistan can do against them in English conditions. So when Pakistan visited England in summer of 2016, it was their first visit since the spot fixing scandal. Only Azhar Ali was the remaining player from the 2010 test squad and it was deja vu all over when Muhammad Amir bowled his first delivery at Lords. His first delivery in test cricket since 2010 where he lost everything he had. Pakistan won the first test easily, followed by two crushing defeats in the next 2 tests. The cornered tigers roared again with Younis Khan hitting the form in the last test and Pakistan squaring series 2-2. Since 2009, Pakistan has played 24 test series. They have lost only six of those. Three were against Sri Lanka, with one each to Australia, England and South Africa. Since 2010, they have won 12 matches and lost only 4 in their newly found “home ground” of UAE. The results, in other parts of world, mean that on August 22, 2016, for the first time ever Pakistan will be crowned as the number one ranked test team in the world. This is a team which is led by a 42 year old, the most senior batsman is 38, and the bowling attack is led by a 24 year old fast bowler. But somehow they all work together with a support financially strapped; ill managed and politicized cricket board. Almost all them have never played a test match in their own country including their captain who is now the most successful test captain in the country`s history. There is an entire generation of kids who do not know how it feels to see your national heroes walking out in the ground under the shadow of waving flags. They don`t have the privilege of preparing pitches of their own choice or the choice to go home to their families at end of a tiring day at office. They have seen their number one spinner being banned due to suspect action; their only all rounder is also ineligible to bowl, they lost their most promising fast bowler to a menace like spot fixing. Yet somehow they keep defying the odds, just like Misbah keeps defying the age. The new ranking system means that the mace will be more frequently changing hands depending on the outcome of the series being played at the time around the cricketing world. But Pakistan continues to remain Pakistan. They always bounce back. They always manage to crawl back into the international scenario, for every crushing defeat there is a comprehensive victory. At the end of the day, Pakistan is and will remain the ever unpredictable, unstable, irrational, and yet consistent Pakistan. The long walk to the top is complete.