Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock vault into top 20 for the first time
Updated - Nov 8, 2016 2:09 pm
South African paceman Kagiso Rabada and wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock have achieved career-high positions in the Test Player Rankings after firing South Africa to an emphatic 177 runs victory over Australia in the opening Test of the three-match series in Perth on Monday.
Rabada, who took 14 wickets in South Africa’s successful campaign in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014 in the United Arab Emirates, has jumped 10 places to 20th position in the bowlers’ table following figures of two for 78 and five for 92, which later earned him the player of the match award.
The 21-year-old is the fourth South Africa fast bowler to feature inside the top 20 after Dale Steyn (second but ruled out of the series due to a shoulder injury), Vernon Philander (11th) and Morne Morkel (13th).
Rabada now has Australia’s Nathan Lyon firmly within his sights as the 16th-ranked off-spinner is 51 points ahead. Because the Johannesburg-born fast bowler is still in his qualification period, he has an excellent chance of leapfrogging the Australian depending on how he performs in the Hobart and Adelaide Tests. A bowler qualifies for a full rating after he has taken 100 wickets, while Rabada has claimed 36 wickets in nine Tests.
De Kock, who was his country’s most successful batsman in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012 in Townsville with 284 runs, scored 84 and 64 for which he has been rewarded with a jump of 11 places. This has put the left-hander in 20th spot in the batting chart.
The wicketkeeper-batsman has now become South Africa’s third batsman to feature inside the top 20. Hashim Amla is sixth after dropping out of the top five following a five-place slide, while AB de Villiers, who is missing the series due to an injury, is seventh.
The 23-year-old de Kock looks strong to gain more points, which means he can move further up the order as he is still in the qualification period. A batsman qualifies for a full rating after he has played in 40 Test innings, while de Kock has so far scored 720 runs in 17 innings of 11 Tests.
The other South Africa players to reap the benefits for stellar performances in the Perth Test include opener Dean Elgar, who has achieved a career-high 24th position after rising five places, and JP Duminy, whose fourth career century has lifted him nine places to 38th position.
The good news for Australia in the batting table is the movement of David Warner in eighth (up by one place), Shaun Marsh in 31st (up by two places) and Usman Khawaja in 33rd (up by four places) and Peter Nevill in 80th (up by 14 places).
In the bowling index, Josh Hazlewood, who played in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008 and 2010 in Malaysia and New Zealand respectively, has risen two places to ninth following his five wickets, while Mitchell Marsh, who captained Australia to victory in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010, has gained three places and is now in 50th spot after taking two for 77 in the second innings.
South Africa’s Vernon Philander scored 10 and 73, and also took match figures of five for 111 which helped him move up one place to sixth in the all-rounders’ category.
India v England
Meanwhile, number-one ranked India (115 points) takes on fifth-ranked England (105 points) in a five-Test series starting in Rajkot on Wednesday. The top four-ranked Test sides are separated by just 10 points and as these four sides are already or preparing to flex their muscles in the purest format of the game, changes in the upper half of the draw are on the cards depending on how the upcoming series pan out.
Focusing on the India versus England series, Virat Kohli’s side will be aiming to, at least, draw the series which will seal its number-one ranking at the end of the year, irrespective of the outcome of the Australia v South Africa and the New Zealand v Pakistan series. In this scenario, India will finish on 113 points and will, thus, be untouchable even if Australia bounces back to win the remaining two Tests against South Africa or Pakistan wins both the Tests against New Zealand.
A 3-2 series win will lift India to 116 points, a 4-1 series win will put it on 119 points and it will jump to 122 points in case of a 5-0 win.
Similarly, the incentive for Alastair Cook’s side is equally high as it will be aiming to move up the order. A 3-2 series win will put it on 108 points, while a 4-1 series win will mean it will move ahead of India to 110 points.
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, England’s Joe Root and India’s Ajinkya Rahane will start the series as their sides’ highest-ranked batsmen. Root is third, just seven points behind second-ranked Kane Williamson of New Zealand, while Rahane is fifth, nine points behind Root.
Other batsmen inside the top 20 and aiming for upward movement include Alastair Cook (11th), Cheteshwar Pujara (13th), Kohli and Jonny Bairstow (joint-15th), while notable batsmen outside the top 20 are Murali Vijay (25th), Moeen Ali (32nd) and Ben Stokes (40th).
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin leads the field by a distance. The off-spinner is the only bowler touching the 900-point mark, which, in ranking terms, is considered as outstanding.
The Rajkot Test will also be a big occasion for Stuart Broad, who is set to become England’s 14th player to complete a century of Tests. In the absence of James Anderson, Broad will be his side’s highest-ranked bowler in fifth position, trailing his England team-mate James Anderson by 32 points.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is the other India bowler to feature inside the top 20 in seventh position (16 points behind Broad), while England’s Chris Woakes is in 19th position.
Bowlers aiming to break into the top 20 include Stokes (21st), Ishant Sharma (23rd), Mohammed Shami (26th) and Steven Finn (29th).
Ashwin is also enjoying number-one position in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test All-rounders. He is 133 points clear of Moeen Ali, who is ranked third.
India v England fixtures
9-13 Nov – 1st Test, Rajkot
17-21 Nov – 2nd Test, Visakhapatnam
26-30 Nov – 3rd Test, Chandigarh
8-12 Dec – 4th Test, Mumbai
16-20 Dec – 5th Test, Chennai
Australia v South Africa
12-16 Nov – 2nd Test, Hobart
24-28 Nov – 3rd Test, Adelaide (d/n)
New Zealand v Pakistan
17-21 Nov – 1st Test, Christchurch
25-29 Nov – 2nd Test, Hamilton