Pant hits new highs for an India wicket-keeper

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Rishabh Pant has attained new highs for an India wicket-keeper batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings after his superb century in the drawn final Test in Sydney.

The 21-year-old left-hander has gained 21 slots and reached 17th place, the joint-highest by a specialist India wicketkeeper along with Farokh Engineer, who did so in January 1973. Further, Pant’s aggregate of 673 rating points are the highest by an India wicketkeeper, with Dhoni having the next highest aggregate of 662 points and Engineer 619 points. Dhoni’s highest Test ranking was 19th.

Pant, a star at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2016 when he scored an 18-ball half-century against Nepal, has moved into the top-20 after only his ninth Test match with an unbeaten 159. Pant had started the Australia tour in 59th place and made rapid progress, scoring 350 runs in a series that also saw him take 20 catches.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 521 runs to help beat Australia 2-1 and claim the Player of the Series award, is another batsman to gain in the latest rankings update, which also takes into account performances in the second Test between South Africa and Pakistan in Cape Town.

Pujara has gained one slot to reach third position while all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (up six places to 57th) and rookie opener Mayank Agarwal (up five places to 62nd) are the others from his team to advance at the end of a historic series win.

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has gained seven slots to reach a career-best 45th position after his figures of 5 for 99 in Australia’s first innings even as Jasprit Bumrah has held on to 16th position and Mohammed Shami has gained one place to take the 22nd slot. Jadeja has gained one place to reach fifth among bowlers and has also leapfrogged Windies captain Jason Holder into second place among all-rounders.

For Australia, opener Marcus Harris has advanced 21 places to take a career-best 69th position after a fine 79 in the first innings while off-spinner Nathan Lyon has inched up from 14th to 13th position.

South Africa’s Aiden Markram has moved back into the top 10 after his knock of 78 at Cape Town, gaining seven slots to reach 10th position. Temba Bavuma has moved into the top 30 for the first time (up five places to 26th) after his score of 75 while captain Faf du Plessis’s first-innings century has lifted him six places to 16th position.

Among their bowlers, Vernon Philander has gained one slot to reach third position while Duanne Olivier has continued his surge to move up to 32nd place from 36th.
For Pakistan, Asad Shafiq has benefitted by five places to reach 24th position after scores of 20 and 88 while Babar Azam is only one slot behind after gaining two places. Shan Masood has moved up 22 places to a career-best 65th while captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has moved up from 42nd to 37th place.

Among their bowlers, Shaheen Afridi has gained 13 slots to reach 60th place after taking four wickets in the match, which Pakistan lost by nine wickets to concede a decisive 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

There has been no change in position or points for India in the MRF Tyres ICC Test TeamRankings, while Australia have lost one point but remain in fifth position.

MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings (as on 8 January, after the Australia-India series):

RANKTEAMPOINTS
1India116
2England108
3New Zealand107
4South Africa106
5Australia101
6Pakistan92
7Sri Lanka91
8West Indies70
9Bangladesh69
10Zimbabwe13
11Afghanistan00
12Ireland00

MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 8 January, after the Sydney and Cape Town Tests):

Batsmen (top 10)

Rank(+/-)PlayerTeamPtsAverageHighest Rating
1( – )Virat KohliInd92253.76937 v Eng at Southampton 2018
2( – )K. WilliamsonNZ89751.44915 v SL at Wellington 2018
3(+1)C. PujaraInd88151.18888 v SL at Nagpur 2017
4(-1)Steve SmithAus87461.37947 v SA at Durban 2018
5( – )Joe RootEng80750.44917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
6( – )David WarnerAus77248.20880 v NZ at Perth 2015
7( – )Henry NichollsNZ763*!43.54763 v SL at Christchurch 2018
8( – )Dean ElgarSA72740.96784 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018
9( – )D. KarunaratneSL71537.08754 v SA at Colombo (SSC) 2018
10(+7)Aiden MarkramSA698*45.20759 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018 

Other selected rankings

Rank(+/-)PlayerTeamPtsAverageHighest Rating
11=(+2)A. MathewsSL68744.79877 v NZ at Christchurch 2014
16(+6)Faf du PlessisSA67442.07734 v Ind at Centurion 2018
17(+21)Rishabh PantInd673*!49.71673 v Aus at Sydney 2019
24(+5)Asad ShafiqPak63439.06758 v Eng at Lord’s 2016
25(+2)Babar AzamPak629*!35.30629 v SA at Cape Town 2019
26=(-2)Q. de KockSA62736.89802 v NZ at Hamilton 2017
(+5)T. BavumaSA627!35.41627 v Pak at Cape Town 2019
57(+6)R. JadejaInd48832.28511 v Win at Rajkot 2018
69(+21)Marcus HarrisAus446*!36.85446 v Ind at Sydney 2019

Bowlers (top 10)

Rank(+/-)PlayerTeamPtsAverageHighest Rating
1( – )K. RabadaSA89321.35902 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2018
2( – )J. AndersonEng87426.98903 v Ind at Lord’s 2018
3=(+1)V. PhilanderSA80421.75912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013
( – )Pat CumminsAus804*24.51836 v Ind at Melbourne 2018
5(+1)R. JadejaInd79423.68899 v Aus at Ranchi 2017
6(-1)M. AbbasPak789*17.90838 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2018
7( – )Trent BoultNZ77127.90825 v Eng at Lord’s 2015
8(+1)Tim SoutheeNZ76729.93799 v Win at Jamaica 2014
9(-1)R. AshwinInd76325.43904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016
10( – )Jason HolderWin751*28.50766 v Ind at Hyderabad 2018

Other selected rankings

Rank(+/-)PlayerTeamPtsAverageHighest Rating
13(+1)Nathan LyonAus72332.10774 v Eng at Adelaide 2017
14(+1)Neil WagnerNZ72128.88785 v Win at Wellington 2017
  22(+1)M. ShamiInd66029.54703 v SA at Johannesburg 2018
32(+4)Duanne OlivierSA560*!18.81560 v Pak at Cape Town 2019
45(+7)Kuldeep YadavInd402*!24.12402 v Aus at Sydney 2019
60(+13)Shaheen AfridiPak274*!31.41274 v SA at Cape Town 2019

All-rounders (top five)

Rank(+/-)PlayerTeamPtsHighest Rating
1( – )S. Al HasanBan415489 v Aus at Mirpur 2017
2(+1)R. JadejaInd387438 v SL at Colombo (SSC) 2017
3(-1)Jason HolderWin365/*381 v Ind at Hyderabad 2018
4( – )V. PhilanderSA353378 v SL at Galle 2018
5( – )Ben StokesEng342396 v Win at Lord’s 2017

*indicates provisional rating; a batsman qualifies for a full rating after playing 40 Test innings; a bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets.
!indicates career-highest rating