If England want to stay as the number one Test team, they will have to win the Test series against the West Indies.
Dubai: India continue to languish at the fourth position in the ICC Test Championship table even as table-toppers England face the risk of losing their numero uno status in the upcoming three-match Test series against the West Indies at home. India are placed fourth behind England, South Africa and Australia on 111 points.
For table-toppers England, the upcoming Test series against the West Indies is of immense significance. If England lose the series against the West Indies, starting at Lord's on Thursday, 0-2 or 0-3, they will slip to the fourth position in the table. England are currently on equal points with South Africa but are ranked above them after ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point. But if England lose the series against the West Indies 0-1 or 1-2, they will drop behind the Proteas and second-placed Australia.
If England are held to a drawn series, then they will slip behind South Africa into the second position. In case of a 0-0 or 1-1 series result, England will drop to 114 ratings points - two ratings points behind South Africa, who will be arriving in England next month for a three-Test series. So if England want to stay as the number one Test team, they will have to win the Test series against the West Indies.
With the annual Test championship update due to take place immediately after the conclusion of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Test series on July 12 and before the start of the England-South Africa Test series on July 19, Andrew Strauss' side will be hoping to collect maximum points from the upcoming series, so that they can end all hopes of either Australia, Pakistan or South Africa to top the table at the annual Test Championship update. While a 1-0 or 2-1 series win will keep England on 116 ratings points, a 2-0 series win will earn them one ratings point, while they will finish on 118 ratings points if they win all the three Tests.
Meanwhile, Sachin Tendulkar is the only Indian to figure in the list of ICC Player Rankings for Test batsman, occupying 12th spot jointly with Azhar Ali of Pakistan. In the bowlers' list, India's presence is marked by Zaheer Khan (12th) and Pragyan Ojha (20th).
West Indies’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul will once again be defending his number-one ranking. The ICC Cricketer of the Year 2008 was in a similar situation exactly three years ago when he arrived in England as the number-one ranked batsman but fell off the top spot after scoring just four runs in the first Test at Lord’s which England won by 10 wickets. This time around, the 27-year-old Guyanese player will be trying to make amends for that failure and will also be hoping to carry on his Man-of-the-Series award winning performance against Australia, which will go a long way in helping him to extend his advantage over South Africa’s second-ranked AB de Villiers, which currently stands at just six ratings points.
Darren Bravo is the other West Indies batsman inside the top 20, in 20th position.
On the other side of the coin, England boast of four batsmen inside the top 20 – Alastair Cook (sixth), Jonathan Trott (14th), Kevin Pietersen (17th) and Ian Bell (19th) – while Matt Prior and captain Andrew Strauss are just outside the top 20 in 24th and 28th positions, respectively.
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, England’s pace and spin combination of James Anderson and Graeme Swann will be aiming to narrow the gap with the two top-ranked bowlers – Dale Steyn of South Africa and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal. Steyn leads Saeed by 51 ratings points, Anderson by 88 ratings points and Swann by 107 ratings points, whereas Swann trails Saeed by 56 ratings points and Anderson is 37 ratings points behind the Pakistan off-spinner.
Other bowlers sitting inside the top 20 are Stuart Board of England (eighth), West Indies’ Kemar Roach, who is enjoying his career-best ranking of 16th, and Tim Bresnan of England (18th).
The player rankings will now be updated after the conclusion of the first Test between England and West Indies.