India's-Best-in-Test

Trent Boult backs away from a Mohammed Shami-bouncer and looks to be overambitious with the willow, he gets a top edge and Murali Vijay makes no mistake, pouching the regulation catch. India win the Eden Gardens Test by 178 runs and with it comes the No.1 tag. Like true champions, they go on to complete a whitewash in the third Test at Indore. Post-match, the Virat Kohli-led India are presented with the ICC Test Championship Mace. India have a long home season till the IPL next year and therefore the ‘No.1’ ranking is here to stay.

India with a rating of 115, is comfortably placed at No.1 in the ICC Test Rankings table, Pakistan, who are locking horns with West Indies, are second with 111. Australia topped the charts till a much lower-ranked Sri Lanka whitewashed them less than two months back, which has resulted in their ranking taking a beating and are now placed at No.3 with 108 rating points. New Zealand’s back-to-back series defeats in South Africa and India have pushed them to No.7. While as a side, India are ruling the Test ranking table, how good have the players done in their individual capacity?

India’s success be attributed to Ravichandran Ashwin’s brilliance. He has contributed with the bat and with the ball, he has been menacing and kept notching one record after another. He is the No.1 all-rounder in Test cricket and has now climbed the ladder to the prestigious pinnacle spot in bowlers’ ranking with 900 rating points, going past Dale Steyn (878) and James Anderson (870).

Ashwin, with 27 wickets in the series, against New Zealand claimed his seventh Man-of-the-Series award. The incredible bit is, he has played only 14 series. He equalised the feats of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Wasim Akram, legends who have played in 60 and 43 series’ respectively.

His partner-in-crime Ravindra Jadeja is not too far behind. He is India’s second best and is on the seventh spot. With 805 rating points, the left-arm spinner is a point below Yasir Shah but 13 points ahead of Mitchell Starc.

Spin clearly has been India’s weapon in their rise therefore it is not surprising to see their top pacemen Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar at 22nd, 24th and 28th spot respectively. Shami and Bhuvi have been excellent with the red cherry and as the season commences, we can expect them to go up in the ranking.

Bowlers win you Tests, but the men excelling with the willow enjoy the superstar status. Historically, batting has been India’s strength and the nation has produced batting superstars aplenty. According to the ICC rankings, Ajinkya Rahane is India’s best in this format. Given his consistency and ability to excel in diverse conditions makes him sit at No.6 in the ICC Ranking for batsmen, a list that is topped by Australian skipper Steven Smith, followed by Joe Root, Hashim Amla and Younis Khan. Rahane is one spot below New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.

The other Indian batsmen do not enjoy a spot in the top 10. Cheteshwar Pujara, who was India’s best batsman in the just concluded series, is at no.15, followed by captain Kohli at 16.

Opener Murali Vijay, who got off to a good start in the series, is at 23, one place above Faf du Plessis. Vijay had a good chance to improve his ranking as he played all the 3 Tests but could not fire after the first match. One spot below Usman Khawaja, at No.37, is Rohit Sharma. Had the stylish Mumbai batsman failed to seize the opportunity in this series, he would have been out of the Test side. Rohit responded to the team management’s faith with a fifty in each Test. Though he has broken into the top 40, a batsman of his quality will eye for a much better rating. Here are India’s best in Tests:

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Designed by Jyoti Desale

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur, philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)