Pujara, Ashwin achieve career-best rankings in Test arena

DUBAI, Mar 5: India’s middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin have achieved their career-best rankings in batting and bowling, respectively in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings released here today.
They have reaped the rewards for their impressive performances during India’s back-to-back victories over Australia in the first two Tests of four-match series.
Pujara, named player-of-the-match for his double-century in the second Test in Hyderabad, has jumped 12 places to a career-best 11th position, while Ashwin, who finished with figures of six for 104, is now at a best-ever eighth spot, having jumped three places.
However, Sachin Tendulkar has lost two positions to be at 19th place, along with Darren Bravo of the West Indies.
Murali Vijay, the other Test centurion in Hyderabad, has jumped 27 places to 60th position in the batsmen’s list headed by South Africa’s Hashim Amla.
In the bowlers’ chart, besides Ashwin, other Indians have also improved their rankings. Harbhajan Singh had gained a point to be in 25th spot, Ravindra Jadeja in 40th (up by 23) and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in 97th (up by 28).
Pragyan Ojha though has lost a place to be at 9th, while Zaheer Khan retained his 16th position.
South Africa’s Dale Steyn still maintains the top spot, while his teammate Vernon Philander is in second place and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal in third.
Meanwhile, in the ICC Test Championship table, South Africa have already sealed their position as the number-one ranked side at the 1 April cut-off date, which means they would not only retain the Test mace but would also be assured of a reward of USD 450,000.
The battle for second place is a three-way race, with India, Australia and England having an opportunity to claim the spot in time for the cut-off date.
These three sides are separated by 13 ratings points, with Australia (118 pts) at second place, followed by England (117 pts) and India (105 pts).
If England win their three-Test series against New Zealand, starting tomorrow, by any margin, they would retain their second place.
However, if New Zealand win by a margin of 1-0 or better, it could open the door for both Australia and India.
India could then claim the second spot if they were to win the remaining two Tests against Australia, but if Michael Clarke’s side manages to level the series then it could displace England. (PTI)


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