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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Panesar is the highest rated England spinner for 30 years

Panesar is the highest rated England spinner for 30 years

June 20, 2007 17:50 IST

Monty Panesar's rise up the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers continues apace following another top performance in the fourth Test against the West Indies.

The 25-year-old moved into the top ten for the first time in his career and is now the highest rated England spinner since Derek Underwood in 1977.

In the just-concluded four-match series, Panesar took 23 wickets at an average of 18.69 and following the final Test at Chester-le-Street moved up six more places. He is now ranked joint-sixth in the world along with England team-mate Matthew Hoggard, who himself gained two places having taken five wickets in the match.

Currently on 721 ratings points, the slow left-armer still has some way to go to being the top-rated England spinner of all-time, however. That honour remains with Surrey legend Tony Lock, who reached 912 ratings points during a home series against New Zealand in 1958.

But that was when Lock was at the height of his powers, bowling in tandem with off-spinner Jim Laker in one of the most successful bowling partnerships of all time. At 25, Panesar has plenty of time to make his own mark on history.

All-time leading England spin bowlers

Rank   Bowler                        HS Ranking

1          Tony Lock                   912 v NZ, Jul 1958

2          Derek Underwood       907 v NZ, Mar 1971

3          Jim Laker                     897 v Aus, Aug 1956

4          Johnny Briggs               886 v Aus, Aug 1893

5          Headley Verity             853 v Aus, Jan 1937

6          Colin Blythe                  843 v SA, Mar 1910

7          Johnny Wardle             831 v SA, Jan 1957

8          Bobby Peel                  827 v Aus, Aug 1896

9          Wilfred Rhodes            823 v Aus, Feb 1904

10        JJ Ferris                       816 v SA, Mar 1892

Selected Others

Fred Titmus                              797 v NZ, Jul 1965

Monty Panesar                         721 v WI, Jun 2007

Ashley Giles                             668 v WI, Aug 2004

Phil Edmonds                           654 v NZ, Aug 1978

John Emburey                           584 v Aus, Nov 1986

Phil Tufnell                                549 v Aus, Aug 1997

If Panesar continues his good form, he could easily move up to third by the end of the English summer, such is the congested nature of the rankings at present.

With three Tests coming up against India, he is just one rating point behind Shane Bond in fifth and nine behind Shaun Pollock of South Africa and India's Anil Kumble in joint-third.

It would be a remarkable achievement considering he was ranked 33rd at the beginning of the series against the West Indies.

England's Ryan Sidebottom is another England bowler to benefit during the series and is now ranked 42nd, having moved up another spot following the fourth Test.

Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka is still the highest ranked Test bowler in the world with South Africa's Makhaya Ntini in second.

Although the West Indies lost the series in England 3-0, there was some consolation in that star batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was named its player of the series.

In the three matches that he played, Chanderpaul scored 446 runs at an average of 148.66, including two centuries and three fifties.

Following his 136 not out and 70 in the fourth Test, he moved up another three places in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen and is back into the top ten.

Over the course of the series he progressed ten places up the rankings and is now in his highest position since July 2005.

Chanderpaul's team-mate Dwayne Bravo also had a successful series personally and the all-rounder moved up 12 places in the batting rankings to 27th position, the highest of his career to date.

England's Paul Collingwood moved up five places in the latest rankings to 13th overall. He is England's second highest ranked Test batsman behind Kevin Pietersen in third spot.

Australia's Ricky Ponting still tops the list with Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan in second place.

There are no changes in the latest LG ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders with Jacques Kallis of South Africa still topping the table followed by Andrew Flintoff in second spot and Pollock third.

Meanwhile, England has strengthened its position in second place of the LG ICC Test Championship following its series victory over the West Indies. Michael Vaughan's team is now six ratings points clear of Pakistan in third spot but still 21 ratings points behind Australia at the top.

The West Indies remains in eighth position overall, 21 points behind New Zealand.

- The complete rankings