Cape Town - Ajinkya Rahane has become India’s highest-ranked
Test batsman in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings after scoring two centuries
in his side’s 337-run victory over South Africa in Delhi which gave the home
side a 3-0 series win.
The 27-year-old from Maharashtra had entered the Test in
26th spot, but after scoring 127 and 100 not out, he has stormed up 14 places
to claim a career-high 12th position. In doing so, Rahane has leapfrogged Virat
Kohli (up by two places to 14th), Murali Vijay (down by four places to 16th)
and Cheteshwar Pujara (down by two places to 17th) as India now boast four
batsmen inside the top 20.
Ravichandran Ashwin is the other batsman who has improved
his ranking post the Delhi Test. Ashwin scored 56 in his only innings, which
has helped him move up five places to 46th.
With the ball, off-spinner Ashwin returned figures of two
for 26 and five for 61, and although his performance has helped him gain 15
points to reduce the gap with table-topper Dale Steyn to just four points, it
has allowed him to move ahead of Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan as the new No
1-ranked Test all-rounder.
India’s left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja has continued to
head in the right direction. The 27-year-old, who won the ICC Under-19 Cricket
World Cup 2008 along with Kohli, had started the series in 30th position. From
the Delhi Test alone, in which he picked up seven wickets, Jadeja has gained
four places to earn a career-best seventh position.
Fast bowler Umesh Yadav has also been rewarded for his
figures of two for 32 and three for nine as he has vaulted 13 places to achieve
a career-best 32nd position.
The only good news for South Africa is the movement of fast
bowler Kyle Abbott, whose five for 40 and one for 47, allowed him to gain 24
places. He now shares a career-best 43rd position with Sri Lanka’s Shaminda
Meanwhile, Australia host the West Indies in a three-Test
series, while New Zealand take on Sri Lanka in a two-Test series. Both series
will start in Hobart and Dunedin, respectively, from Thursday.
Australia currently sit in third position, but will move
ahead of second-ranked India if they win all three Tests. Similarly, if
sixth-ranked New Zealand win both the Tests, then they will swap places with
fifth-ranked England. In the scenario of Sri Lanka winning both the Tests, they
will rise to sixth while New Zealand will slip to seventh.
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, four of the top
six Test batsmen will be featuring in the forthcoming Tests, with Australia
captain Steven Smith sharing the No 1 position with England’s Joe Root. This
means he will have to perform strongly in Hobart, otherwise, he will fall off
the top pedestal.
Kane Williamson of New Zealand is fourth, Australia’s David
Warner is fifth and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews is sixth. Depending how
these batsmen perform, there is likely to be some changes at the top of the