India needs to draw the series to retain its second position on the table
New Zealand will go head to head against India in a two-Test series starting in Auckland on Thursday knowing that a series win will help it move in the upward direction in the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings.
New Zealand currently sits in eighth position on 82 ratings points and trails second-ranked India by 35 ratings points. Because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, New Zealand will gain points if it wins the series.
While New Zealand will aim for an improvement in its ranking, India will strive to retain its second position on the table.
New Zealand will leapfrog the West Indies into seventh position if its wins the series 1-0, while the Black Caps can move ahead of Sri Lanka in sixth place. But that is provided New Zealand beats India 2-0 and Bangladesh wins the second Test against Sri Lanka to draw the series at one-all.
A 1-0 series win for New Zealand will mean it will join West Indies on 87 ratings points but will be ranked in seventh position when the ratings are calculated beyond the ratings points, while India will retain its second position with a loss of five to end on 112 ratings points, just one ahead of third-ranked Australia.
If New Zealand wins the series 2-0, then it will jump to 88 ratings points while India will fall to 110 ratings points. And if Bangladesh wins the Chittagong Test which started on Tuesday, then New Zealand will be ranked sixth, while Sri Lanka will slip behind the West Indies in eighth position.
If the series ends in a 0-0 or 1-1 draw, then both the sides will retain their pre-series rankings.
On the other side of the coin, if India wins the series 1-0 then both sides will retain their pre-series rankings and ratings, while a 2-0 series result will fetch India one ratings points to allow it to end on 118 ratings points with no change in the table.
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.
All eyes on Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor in third position on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen starts off as the highest-ranked batsman on either side.
Taylor, on 871 ratings points, is just five behind West Indies’ second-ranked batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The series offers Taylor an excellent opportunity to move ahead of Chanderpaul and close in on number-one ranked AB de Villiers.
Cheteshwar Pujara in fifth is the only other batsman in the top 10 featuring in the series.
Virat Kohli in 11th position is the only other batsman to feature in the top 20. He has an excellent opportunity to enter the top 10 for the first time in his career.
Outside the top 20, the batsmen likely to feature in action are Kane Williamson (23rd), MS Dhoni (28th), Brendon McCullum (35th), Murali Vijay (36th), Rohit Sharma (42nd), Ravichandran Ashwin (46th), BJ Watling (47th), Ajinkya Rahane (60th), Hamish Rutherford (61st), Peter Fulton (73rd) and Shikhar Dhawan (90th).
Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin in seventh starts off the series as the highest-ranked on either side on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.
Trent Boult in 10th place is the only other bowler in the top 10 on either side.
Tim Southee in 14th position is the other bowler in the top 20 likely to play the series.
Outside the top 20, the bowlers to watch out are Zaheer Khan (22nd), Ravindra Jadeja (23rd), Ishant Sharma (31st), Neil Wagner (41st), Doug Bracewell (42nd), Corey Anderson (45th) and Williamson (67th).
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
4-8 February: Second Test, Chittagong
New Zealand v India
6-10 February: First Test, Auckland
14-18 February: Second Test, Wellington