The ongoing Border-Gavaskar series between India and Australia has been at the centre of all the cricketing drama. However, the stakes riding on the series has been exponentially increased with another competition among the star batsmen in the teams. Though the first test in the series proved to be a huge embarrassment for the young Indian side. The ace batsman and Indian skipper saw an exponential increase in rank in the latest ICC test rankings for batsmen.
The list currently is led by Steve Smith and is sitting at the top of the table with 901 points. Virat Kohli is placed second with 888 points. The list goes on to include Kiwi batsman Kane Williamson at 877 points at third spots. Marnus Labuschagne at 839 points placed at the fourth spot respectively.
Reduced Points Between Pole Positions
Notwithstanding the shoddy performance, the Indian side put up in the first test at Adelaide. The Indian skipper saw a rise in the ICC rankings. Kohli scored 74 & 4 in the two innings played in the first test. The first innings score helped propel his personal points by 2 units. Concurrently Smith’s relatively poorer performance in the match with scores of 1 & 1* saw him lose a staggering 10 points. Therefore, reducing the gap between the two top spots. Thus the gap between the two pole positions has been reduced to a paltry 13 points, down from 25 at the beginning of the series.
Other Shifts – ICC Rankings
The competition among the pole positions have been the highlight of much contention. However, there have been a few other eventful shifts concerning the larger teams at hand. Marnus Labuschagne’s scores of 47 & 6 in the two innings of the test has seen him reach a career-best fourth position in the ICC rankings with a score of 839 points.
Pujara’s 43 in the first innings did not seem to change his fortunes as he dropped and ranked at 8th. He was replaced by the prolific English player Ben Stokes who currently is ranked at the 7th spot.
Australian skipper Tim Paine’s valiant 73 in the first innings of the match also saw him reach a career best spot of 33 on the ranking list.
These changes were not merely restricted to the batting charts as the bowling charts also experienced a few interesting developments. Ace bowler Pat Cummins consolidated his pole position on the ICC bowling rankings after taking seven wickets in the first test. Australian bowler Hazlewood also improved his ranking after a 5-wicket haul. Hence, he is rising to be placed at the 5th spot from the previously 9th ranked.
Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also improved his test ranking by moving up a spot to be placed at 9th. His ranking rise over fast bowler Bumrah makes Ashwin the highest ranked test bowler currently.
The first test match of the Gavaskar-Border series has brought in a shift in the rankings. However, this is just the start. Given that the series still has a long way to go, these ICC rankings are sure to be changing a lot. This development will also be compounded by the fact that the Indian skipper Virat Kohli shall be missing the next three tests due to his paternity leave.
This would mean that Smith would not have the competition for the pole spot as would have been expected. However, a sting of poor performance like the one in the first test could see Smith losing points. This result eventually falling below Kohli in the rankings.
The series is just starting to get interesting whether it is the batting, bowling or all-rounders rankings. The competition for the top spot is about to get very interesting. Considering not just the opposition, but the race for the ICC Rankings’ top spot is going to be played out even between teammates.