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Rahane becomes India's highest-ranked Test batsman

December 08, 2015 15:21 IST
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Ajinkya Rahane

IMAGE: Ajinkya Rahane took guard in the fourth Test against South Africa in 26th spot, but after scoring 127 and an unbeaten 100, he rose 14 places to a career-high No. 12 in the rankings. Photograph: BCCI

Ajinkya Rahane has become India’s highest-ranked Test batsman in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings after scoring two centuries in the 337 runs victory over South Africa in the fourth and final Test, at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, which gave the home side a 3-0 series triumph.

The 27-year-old from Maharashtra took guard in the Test in 26th spot, but after scoring 127 and an unbeaten 100, he rose 14 places to a career-high No. 12 in the rankings.

In doing so, he  leapfrogged Virat Kohli (up by two places to No. 14), Murali Vijay (down by four places to 16) and Cheteshwar Pujara (down by two places to 17) . India now has four batsmen inside the top 20.

Ravichandran Ashwin is the other batsman who improved his ranking post the New Delhi Test. He scored 56 in his only innings, which helped him move up five places to No. 46.

With the ball, Ashwin returned figures of two for 26 and five for 61, and though his performance helped him gain 15 points and reduce the gap with table-topper Dale Steyn to just four points, it took him ahead of Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan as the new number-one ranked Test all-rounder.

India’s left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja continued to head in the right direction. The 27-year-old, who won the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008 along with Kohli, had started the series in 30th position. From the New Delhi Test alone, in which he picked seven wickets, he gained four places to earn a career-best seventh position.

Fast bowler Umesh Yadav was also rewarded for his figures of two for 32 and three for nine. He vaulted 13 places to a career-best No. 32.

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 Eranga.

Meanwhile, Australia hosts the West Indies in a three-Test series while New Zealand takes on Sri Lanka in a two-Test series. Both series start in Hobart and Dunedin, respectively, on Thursday.

Australia currently sits in third position, but will move ahead of second-ranked India if it wins all three Tests.

Similarly, if sixth-ranked New Zealand win both the Tests, then it will swap places with fifth-ranked England. In the scenario of Sri Lanka winning both the Tests, it 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 number-one position with England’s Joe Root. This means he will have to perform strongly in Hobart, otherwise he will fall off the top pedestal.

New Zealand’s Kane Williamson is fourth, Australia’s David Warner is fifth and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews sixth. Depending how these batsmen perform, there is likely to be some changes at the top of the tree.

The player rankings will now be updated at the end of Dunedin and Hobart Tests, while the ICC Test Championship will be updated following the Hamilton Test.

- Check out the ICC Player Rankings

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