Williamson dethrones Smith as top-ranked batsman in Tests


Karachi: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has surged ahead of Australia’s Steve Smith and India’s Virat Kohli to seize the top spot for batsmen in ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings.

The 30-year-old Williamson climbed at the top after a match-winning performance in the opening Test against Pakistan at Mount Maunganui.

He has gained 13 rating points for his effort of 129 and 21 to go 11 points clear of Kohli and 13 ahead of Smith.

ICC released a year-ending update which also includes performances from the second Test between Australia and India in Melbourne and the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Centurion

Ross Taylor is another New Zealand batsman to move up to the 14th spot from the 17th. India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane has moved to the sixth spot after his brilliant century (112) and a score of 27 in the second Test against the Aussies.

Read: Kane Williamson praises Babar Azam’s cover drives, back-foot punches

For Pakistan, Fawad Alam’s courageous second-innings century has lifted him 80 places to 102nd position while wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan’s scores of 71 and 60 have helped him advance 27 places to a career-best 47th position. Injured skipper Babar Azam has retained his fifth spot.

A knock of 199 by Faf du Plessis helped him gain 14 places to reach 21st position, one behind team-mate Dean Elgar, who too gained four spots after a knock of 95.

In bowlers, Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has moved from 35th to 33rd after grabbing four wickets in the first innings. Blackcaps’ pacer Kyle Jamieson has reached top 30 after just five Tests, following his five wickets in the first Test.

Australia’s Pat Cummins retained the top-ranked Test bowler, while compatriot Mitchell Starc advanced two places to enter the top five.

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (seventh) and quick Jasprit Bumrah (ninth) improved their top 10 positions after their impressive performance in the Melbourne Test.

Meanwhile, New Zealand are in line to grab the top spot in ICC Test Team rankings from Australia.

According to ICC, Australia are fractionally ahead since the Test team rankings are updated only at the end of each series. Even a draw in the second Test against Pakistan though could see New Zealand take the top spot.

Read more: Notable improvement for Pakistani players in ICC T20I rankings