Rahane now Indian’s highest-ranked batsman

(ICC) 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 runs victory over South Africa in the New Delhi Test on Monday, 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 has four batsmen inside the top 20.

Ravichandran Ashwin is the other batsman who has improved his ranking post the New Delhi Test. Ashwin scored 56 in his only innings, which has helped him move up five places to 46th.

With the ball, Ashwin returned figures of two for 26 and five for 61, and though 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 number-one 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 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 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, has 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 will start in Hobart and Dunedin, respectively, from tomorrow.

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 wins 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 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.

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 tree.

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