South Africa have held the top rank since July 2014 © AFP
South Africa have held the top rank since July 2014 © AFP

South Africa have to win the upcoming 4-match Test series against England in order to retain their number-one Test spot in the ICC rankings. If England go on to beat the hosts even by 1-0, South Africa will drop from the top position for the first time since July 2014. The Proteas aim for the annual April 1 cut-off date for the ICC rankings where Irrespective of how the Australia-West Indies and Australia-New Zealand series pan out, Hashim Amla’s side needs defeat the visitors. South Africa are coming off from a disappointing tour of India where they were thrashed 3-0 in the 4-match Test series. FULL SCORECARD: South Africa vs England, 1st Test at Durban

According to a media release from the ICC, the following are the South Africa-England series permutations:

If SA wins 4-0 – SA 119 pts (1st); Eng 95 pts (6th)

If SA wins 3-0 – SA 118 pts (1st); Eng 96 pts (6th)

If SA wins 2-0 or 3-1 – SA 116 pts (1st); Eng 97 pts (6th)

If SA wins 1-0 or 2-1 – SA 115 pts (1st); Eng 98 pts (6th)

If Eng wins 1-0 or 2-1 – SA 109 pts (3rd); Eng 102 pts (5th)

If Eng wins 2-0 or 3-1 – SA 107 pts (3rd); Eng 104 pts (5th)

If Eng wins 3-0 – SA 106 pts (4th); Eng 105 pts (5th)

If Eng wins 4-0 – SA 105 pts (5th); Eng 106 pts (4th)

Meanwhile, Dale Steyn will be under pressure to perform in the series. If he fails to do so, he will eventually have to hand the top rank to Ravichandran Ashwin. Steyn will drop from the number-one spot for the first time since February 2014. READ: South Africa must defend home base against England to avenge recent defeats

However, England have already faced a blow ahead of the first Test with their ace pacer James Anderson being ruled out of the first Test with a calf strain. Anderson was sent for scans on Tuesday after he had complained of tightness in his right calf muscle and English coach Trevor Bayliss had suggested the situation to be a concern for England ahead of their 4-match away Test series against South Africa starting on Saturday. According to BBC, two from—Steven Finn, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan or Mark Footitt—will join Stuart Broad in England’s attack.