KOHLI, RABADA END NOTABLE YEAR ON TOP

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  • Bumrah, Cummins and Olivier among bowlers to move up; career-bests for Nicholls, Babar and Pant

India captain Virat Kohli and South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada have maintained their top positions in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings at the year-end after 2018 saw them achieve several milestones including from the rankings perspective.

Kohli dropped three points despite a first innings score of 82 in the third Test in Melbourne, but still enjoys a 34-point lead over Kane Williamson. Kohli, who attained a career-high 937 points during the year, which is the highest ever by an India batsman, scored 1322 runs in all. Kohli overtook Steven Smith in August and has now held the top position for 135 days.

Rabada, who split the top ranking with England’s seasoned fast bowler James Anderson during the year, is just six points ahead of his adversary. Rabada, who became the youngest to take top position among bowlers during the year and held the spot for 178 days during the year, grabbed six wickets in the opening match at Centurion that South Africa won by six wickets to finish with 52 wickets in 10 Tests in 2018.

Kohli’s compatriot Cheteshwar Pujara has maintained fourth position after a first-innings century in Melbourne, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has gained 10 slots to reach a career-best 38th position while debutant opener Mayank Agarwal has entered the batsmen’s list at an impressive 67th place after scores of 76 and 42 helped his side win by 137 runs for a 2-1 lead in the four-match series,

Jasprit Bumrah has moved from 28th to 12th after his match haul of nine for 86, the best-ever by an India seam bowler in Australia. He is now the highest-ranked India fast bowler in the format with Mohammed Shami next in 23rd position.

For Australia, Pat Cummins has been the pick, gaining five slots to reach a career-best third position after finishing with nine wickets in the match. He has also gained 13 slots to reach 91st place among batsmen with some useful runs down the order. Travis Head (up seven places to 56th) has also benefitted in the latest rankings update.

New Zealand fast bowlers have a lot to cheer about following their record 423-run win over Sri Lanka in Christchurch. Trent Boult’s nine wickets in the match have helped him gain seven slots to reach seventh position while Tim Southee (up two places to ninth) and Neil Wagner (up one place to 15th) have also moved up.

Century-makers at Christchurch, Henry Nicholls (up two places to seventh) and Tom Latham (up eight places to 14th), and Jeet Raval (up two places to 35th) have also gained in the latest rankings update.

Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis, the only player apart from Kohli to score 1,000 runs in the year and who reacheded a career-high of 12th place in the ICC batting rankings in June, has gained two slots to finish the year in 16th position.

For South Africa, former captain Hashim Amla (up three places to 11th place) and Temba Bavuma (up four places to 31st) have gained among batsmen while fast bowler Duanne Olivier has gained 17 places to reach 36th position after his player of the match effort of 11 wickets.

Pakistan’s Babar Azam has gained nine slots to reach 27th position after innings of 71 and six while left-arm fast bowlers Mohammad Amir (up two places to 34th) and Shaheen Afridi (up 38 places to 73rd) have advanced after taking four and five wickets in Centurion.

Mohammad Abbas, who had a sensational year during which he took 38 Test wickets at an average of 13.76 and reached number three in the rankings after just 10 Tests, finished the year in fifth position.

Meanwhile, New Zealand have leapfrogged South Africa to take third place in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings after starting the series against Sri Lanka with a chance of going up to second position with a 2-0 win.

MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Test Team Rankings (as on 31 December, following the conclusion of the New Zealand-Sri Lanka series)

Rank    Team               Points

  1. India                 116
  2. England            108
  3. New Zealand     107
  4. South Africa      106
  5. Australia           102
  6. Pakistan           92
  7. Sri Lanka          91
  8. West Indies       70
  9. Bangladesh       69
  10. Zimbabwe         13
  11. Afghanistan       00
  12. Ireland              00

(Developed by David Kendix)

MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 31 December, following the conclusion of the Centurion, Christchurch and Melbourne Tests):

BATSMEN (top 20)

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team   Points  Avge    Highest Rating

1         ( – )         Virat Kohli            Ind         931       54.01     937 v Eng at Southampton 2018

2         ( – )         Kane Williamson  NZ          897       51.44     915 v SL at Wellington 2018

3         ( – )         Steve Smith         Aus        883       61.37     947 v SA at Durban 2018

4         ( – )         C. Pujara              Ind         834       49.83     888 v SL at Nagpur 2017

5         ( – )         Joe Root              Eng        807       50.44     917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015

6         ( – )         David Warner       Aus        780       48.20     880 v NZ at Perth 2015

7         (+2)        Henry Nicholls      NZ          763*!     43.54     763 v SL at Christchurch 2018

8         ( – )         Dean Elgar           SA          728       40.92     784 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018

9         (-2)         D. Karunaratne    SL          715       37.08     754 v SA at Colombo (SSC) 2018

10        (-1)         Azhar Ali              Pak        697       44.45     787 v Aus at Melbourne 2016

11=      (+3)        Hashim Amla       SA          689       47.35     907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013

(+1)        Usman Khawaja   Aus        689       42.29     747 v Pak at Sydney 2017

13        (+3)        Angelo Mathews  SL          687       44.79     877 v NZ at Christchurch 2014

14        (+8)        Tom Latham         NZ          676!      41.59     676 v SL at Christchurch 2018

15        (-2)         D. Chandimal       SL          675       43.53     755 v Win at St Lucia 2018

16        (+2)        Kusal Mendis       SL          671       37.90     693 v Win at St Lucia 2018

17        (-6)         Aiden Markram    SA          654*      43.83     759 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018

18=      (+2)        Jonny Bairstow    Eng        653       37.71     772 v SA at Old Trafford 2017

(-3)         Ajinkya Rahane    Ind         653       40.82     825 v NZ at Indore 2016

20        (-1)         Ross Taylor          NZ          646       45.93     871 v Win at Hamilton 2013

BOWLERS (top 20)

Rank      (+/-)        Player                  Team     Points  Avge      Highest Rating

1         ( – )         Kagiso Rabada    SA          880       21.56     902 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2018

2         ( – )         James Anderson  Eng        874       26.98     903 v Ind at Lord’s 2018

3         (+5)        Pat Cummins       Aus        836*!     23.25     836 v Ind at Melbourne 2018

4         (-1)         Vernon Philander SA          817       21.54     912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013

5         (-1)         M. Abbas              Pak        813*      16.62     838 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2018

6         (-1)         Ravindra Jadeja   Ind         796       23.55     899 v Aus at Ranchi 2017

7         (+7)        Trent Boult           NZ          771       27.90     825 v Eng at Lord’s 2015

8         (-2)         R. Ashwin             Ind         770       25.43     904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016

9         (+2)        Tim Southee        NZ          767       29.93     799 v Win at Jamaica 2014

10        (+2)        Jason Holder        Win        751*      28.50    766 v Ind at Hyderabad 2018

11        (-2)         Josh Hazlewood  Aus        748        26.83    863 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017

12        (-2)         Yasir Shah           Pak        745        28.33    878 v Eng at Lord’s 2016

13        ( – )         Shannon Gabriel  Win        742        29.73    757 v Ban at Jamaica 2018

14        (-7)         Nathan Lyon        Aus        727        31.95    774 v Eng at Adelaide 2017

15        (+1)        Neil Wagner         NZ          721        28.88    785 v Win at Wellington 2017

16        (+12)      Jasprit Bumrah     Ind         708*!     21.02    708 v Aus at Melbourne 2018

17        ( – )         Mehidy Hasan      Ban        696*!     29.78    696 v Win at Dhaka 2018

18        (-3)         Mitchell Starc       Aus        695        28.43    805 v SA at Durban 2018

19        (-1)         Stuart Broad         Eng        694        29.04    880 v SA at Johannesburg 2016

20        ( – )         Shakib Al Hasan  Ban        675        31.27    705 v Aus at Mirpur 2017

ALL-ROUNDERS (top five)

Rank      (+/-)        Player                  Team     Points   Highest Rating

1         ( – )         Shakib Al Hasan  Ban        415       489 v Aus at Mirpur 2017

2         (+2)        Jason Holder        Win        365/*     381 v Ind at Hyderabad 2018

3         (-1)         Ravindra Jadeja   Ind         364       438 v SL at Colombo (SSC) 2017

4         (-1)         Vernon Philander SA          362       378 v SL at Galle 2018

5         ( – )         Ben Stokes          Eng        342       396 v Win at Lord’s 2017

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