kohli

Indian skipper Virat Kohli will have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming India vs England five-match Test series  starting on Thursday at Birmingham. Apart from the much talked about redeeming opportunity for Kohli after a horrid 2014 tour, the 29-year-old can leapfrog Australia’s Steve Smith as the number one Test batsman in ICC rankings with a strong showing in the series.

India vs England, 1st Test: Virat Kohli’s sternest challenge, as captain and batsman
India vs England, 1st Test: Virat Kohli’s sternest challenge, as captain and batsman

Kohli is currently number two in the rankings with 903 points, only 26 behind Smith (929), who has banned from international cricket for one year for his involvement in a ball tampering incident.

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Kohli’s India will also be looking to avoid a series whitewash against England, the fifth-ranked side in the Test rankings. England currently are at number five with 97 rating points and can jump to number two surpassing South Africa (106), Australia (106) and New Zealand (102) with a 10-point rise to 107 points, reducing the pre-series gap with top-ranked India from 28 points to just five points.

India vs England, 1st Test: What should India’s top order be for Edgbaston?
India vs England, 1st Test: What should India’s top order be for Edgbaston?

In contrast, if India can display their strength and prowess which has made them the highest-ranked side in the world, then they will further strengthen their grip on the top spot. If India wins 5-0, then they will rise to 129 points and England will drop to sixth place on 94 points.

England fast bowler James Anderson will also aim to defend his number-one ranking.

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Apart from Kohli and Anderson, both the sides comprise players who feature prominently in the Test player rankings who, during the course of the series, will be hoping to make upward movements. This makes the upcoming series a perfect recipe for entertaining, interesting and enthralling red ball cricket.

Amongst the batsmen, both England and India have five each inside the top-50. From England, Joe Root is ranked third (48 points behind Kohli), Alastair Cook 13th, Jonny Bairstow 16th, Ben Stokes 28th and Moeen Ali 43rd, while India’s Cheteshwar Pujara is sixth, followed by Lokesh Rahul 18th, Ajinkya Rahane 19th, Murali Vijay 23rd and Shikhar Dhawan 24th.

Amongst the bowlers and besides Anderson, Stuart Broad is the other bowler who features inside the top-30 in 12th position.

In contrast, India boasts six bowlers inside the top-30, including two spinners in Ravindra Jadeja (third) and Ravichandran Ashwin (fifth), and four fast bowlers, namely Mohammed Shami (17th), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (25th), Ishant Sharma (26th) and Umesh Yadav (28th).

India’s left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who caused problems for the England batsmen in the ODI series, is ranked outside the top-50 in 56th position.

The Test player rankings will be updated following the conclusion of the Edgbaston Test, while the Test team rankings will be updated following the conclusion of the fifth and final Test at The Oval.