Dubai, Jan 16 : England will have a chance to the win the US$175,000 jackpot for topping the Reliance ICC Test Championship table when it goes head to head with Pakistan in a three-Test series starting in Dubai on Tuesday.
The award is presented on an annual basis to the side which finishes the Reliance ICC Test Championship table on the 1 April cut-off date. England is currently on 125 ratings points and is ahead of its closest rivals, India and South Africa, by seven and eight ratings points, respectively. With India all set to drop in the Championship table, which will be updated after the Adelaide Test, South Africa can rise to as high as 119 ratings points should it be successful in its series against New Zealand in New Zealand from 7-27 March.
However, England can put itself beyond South Africa’s reach by either winning a Test in the forthcoming series in the UAE or if it loses the series to Pakistan by a one Test margin. In case of a 1-0 or 2-1 series loss, England will finish on 120 ratings points, one ahead of South Africa (assuming it wins 3-0 against New Zealand), while England’s 1-0 or 2-1 series win will mean it will retain its pre-series rating of 125 points. Nevertheless, England will give South Africa a window of opportunity to top the table if it loses to Pakistan by 2-0 or more.
In the scenario of England losing 2-0 and South Africa winning 3-0, both the sides will be locked on 119 ratings points, but South Africa will be ranked above England by one tenth of a decimal point. And in the situation of England losing 3-0 and South Africa winning 3-0, then England will drop to 118 ratings points, while South Africa will finish on top at 119 ratings points.
The side that finishes second in the Reliance ICC Test Championship table on the 1 April cut-off date will receive US$75,000. Meanwhile, David Warner has made a big move in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, which were updated after the Perth Test. The 27-year-old, who was adjudged man of the match for hitting joint the fourth fastest century in Test cricket, has jumped up 35 places and is now in 34th position. Warner’s opening partner Ed Cowan and India’s Virat Kohli have also headed in the right direction. Cowan, who scored 74 in his only innings, has gained 24 places and now sits in 58th position along with Pakistan’s Asad Shafiq, while Kohli’s contributions of 44 and 75 have provided him with a leap of 39 places, which puts him in 66th spot.
The batsmen losing ground after the Perth Test included Sachin Tendulkar in eighth (down by three), Michael Clarke in 11th (down by three), Mike Hussey in 14th (down by two), VVS Laxman in 21st (down by three), Virender Sehwag in 24th (down by two), Gautam Gambhir in 32nd (down by one), Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 40th (down by four), Brad Haddin in 42nd (down by three) and Shaun Marsh in 89th (down by three). Australia’s fast bowler Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus have achieved career-best rakings after inspiring their side to an innings and 37 runs victory.
Siddle, who won the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award at the LG ICC Awards in Johannesburg in 2009, had figures of three for 42 and three for 43 which have given him a lift of two places and puts him in fifth position. Hilfenhaus had match figures of eight for 97, which have helped him break into the top 10 for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old Tasmanian has jumped five places to sixth position to trail Siddle by just 18 ratings points.
Hilfenhaus had entered the series in 31st position and has gained 25 positions so far after claiming taken 23 wickets at 16. Given that he is still in a qualification period for bowlers*, it is likely that he will move even further up the ladder depending on how he performs in the fourth Test which starts in Adelaide on 24 January.
India’s Umesh Yadav is the other bowler to make an upward movement. The fast bowler claimed his maiden five-wicket haul which has helped him climb seven places to 43rd. The bowlers’ list is headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn, while England’s James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad are second, third and fourth, respectively.