If India manages to win both the Tests against South Africa, it will gain five ratings points to move up to 124
India will start the two-Test series against South Africa on Wednesday 18 December in Johannesburg with an aim to close the gap with the number-one ranked side on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings Table.
South Africa enters the series as the clear leader with 131 ratings points, while India is in second place at 119 ratings points.
Whatever the outcome of the series,both South Africa and India are assured of retaining their pre-series ranking.
However, if India manages to win both the Tests against South Africa, it will gain five ratings points to move up to 124, while Graeme Smith’s side will drop down to 125 ratings points, thereby reducing the gap between the two teams to just one ratings point.
A 1-0 series win for India will mean a rise of four ratings points to 123, while South Africa will end at 126 ratings points. A 1-1 or 0-0 series draw will mean India gains one ratings point to move up to 120, while South Africa will move down to 130.
On the other hand, a 1-0 series win for South Africa will see India concede two ratings points, while a 2-0 series win will mean a loss of three ratings points for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side.
With the top four sides as of 31 December 2016 qualifying for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship scheduled for 2017, every Test counts towards the qualification.
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Rankings Table, please click here. The Test Ranking Table, unlike the ODI and T20I Rankings tables, are updated after every series.
Meanwhile, South Africa starts the series with the top two ranked batsmen and the top two ranked bowlers in its side.
While AB de Villiers leads the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, Hashim Amla is second. The Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers is headed by Dale Steyn with compatriot Vernon Philander in second.
Reverting to the batting table, South Africa captain Graeme Smith is the third batsman from his side to feature in the top 10, in ninth position.
For India, Cheteshwar Pujara, the winner of the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year Award for 2013, is the highest-ranked batsman in sixth position.
South Africa's Jacques Kallis in 12th and Virat Kohli of India in 20th are the only other batsmen from either side inside the top 20.
Outside the top 20, the batsmen likely to be seen in action are MS Dhoni in 21st, Alviro Petersen in 39th, Murali Vijay in 42nd, Faf du Plessis in 43rd, Ravichandran Ashwin in 44th, Rohit Sharma in 54th and JP Duminy in 58th.
In the bowlers’ list, India’s spin pair of Ravichandran Ashwin in fifth and Pragyan Ojha in ninth are the only bowlers from their side to feature inside the top 20.
Morne Morkel in 12th is the only other bowler inside the top 20.
Outside the top 20, Zaheer Khan in 22nd, Ravindra Jadeja in 25th, Ishant Sharma in 31st, Jacques Kallis in 34th, Mohammed Shami in 46th, Umesh Yadav in 49th and Imran Tahir in 53rd are likely to be in action in the Johannesburg and Durban Tests.
About ICC World Test Championship
The inaugural ICC World Test Championship (ICC WTC) will be hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2017.
The qualification pathway for the ICC World Test Championship is through the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings, with the qualifying period being from 1 May 2013 to 31 December 2016.
The top four teams at the conclusion of the qualification period will qualify for the event in 2017. The results of all Test series ending after 1 May 2013, and the results of all Test series starting before 31 December 2016, will be included in the period that determine qualification for the ICC WTC.
The official hashtag for the ICC World Test Championship is #wtc