- South Africa could come within one point of top-ranked India; New Zealand can no more move to second place but will gain two important points with a win in second Test against Sri Lanka
- Top-ranked Rabada, Abbas among bowlers and Elgar, Azhar among batsmen the ones to watch in terms of rankings in upcoming three-Test series between South Africa and Pakistan
The scenario in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings is interestingly poised with top-ranked India currently playing in Australia, New Zealand engaged in a series against Sri Lanka and now South Africa getting set for a Boxing Day opening to their three Tests against Pakistan.
All three series have a bearing on the top five positions, with South Africa having the advantage of knowing what they can reap rewards in home conditions. Currently placed third, South Africa have a chance to leapfrog England to second place but also face the danger of being overtaken by their rivals Pakistan and slipping to sixth place.
South Africa are two points behind England and a 2-0 win will take them to 108 points and above England on decimal points. A 3-0 win will carry South Africa to 110 points, and to within one point of India, should India lose the remaining two matches to Australia. On the other hand, a 3-0 series loss will see South Africa drop to 99 points with Pakistan reaching 100 points.
India, who currently enjoy an eight-point lead over England, will end the series against Australia at 111 points with a 3-1 series loss but will go up to 118 points with a 3-1 series win.
In the other ongoing Test series, New Zealand, who had a chance to go up to 109 points and second place with a 2-0 series win, will now be looking to reach 107 points by winning the second match after the opening match ended in a draw. Sri Lanka will be on 91 points in such a scenario but go up to 96 if they win the second Test. New Zealand will slip to 100 points if they lose.
The predictor function is available here
- South Africa win 3-0: South Africa 110 points, Pakistan 88 points
- South Africa win 2-0: South Africa 108, Pakistan 89
- South Africa win 2-1 or 1-0: South Africa 107, Pakistan 91
- Series drawn: South Africa 105, Pakistan 94
- Pakistan win 3-0: South Africa 99, Pakistan 100
- Pakistan win 2-0: South Africa 101, Pakistan 99
- Pakistan win 2-1 or 1-0: South Africa 102, Pakistan 97
In the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings, South Africa’s top-ranked fast bowler Kagiso Rabada gets a chance to increase his lead of eight points over England’s James Anderson, while third-ranked Vernon Philander will have to fight it out against Pakistan’s fast-rising fast bowler Mohammad Abbas, who trails him by only five points.
Spinner Keshav Maharaj (19th) and formerly top-ranked Dale Steyn (24th), tied with former all-rounder Shaun Pollock at 421 wickets as the highest-wicket taker in Tests for South Africa, will also get a chance to work their way up.
Among their batsmen, left-handed opener Dean Elgar (eighth), Aiden Markram (11th), Hashim Amla (14th) and Faf du Plessis (17th) will be looking to move up within the list of top 20 batsmen, which features only one Pakistan batsman.
Opener Azhar Ali (10th) and Asad Shafiq (23rd) are the leading names for the visiting team with three of their batsmen in the 30s – captain Sarfraz Ahmed (32nd), Babar Azam (36th) and Haris Sohail (38th).
Apart from fourth-ranked Abbas, formerly top-ranked leg-spinner Yasir Shah (10th) will be looking to recreate the magic of a recent three-Test series against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates, where he finished with 29 wickets. Fast bowlers Mohammad Amir (36th) and Hasan Ali (39th) will also be hoping to move up the ladder.
South Africa v Pakistan
26-30 December – 1st Test, Centurion
3-7 January – 2nd Test, Cape Town
11-15 January – 3rd Test, Johannesburg
MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings (as on 24 December, before the South Africa-Pakistan series):
MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 24 December, before the South Africa-Pakistan series):
Batsmen (top 10)
|1||Virat Kohli||Ind||934||54.23||937 v Eng at Southampton 2018|
|2||K. Williamson||NZ||915!||51.91||915 v SL at Wellington 2018|
|3||Steve Smith||Aus||892||61.37||947 v SA at Durban 2018|
|4||C. Pujara||Ind||816||49.77||888 v SL at Nagpur 2017|
|5||Joe Root||Eng||807||50.44||917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015|
|6||David Warner||Aus||787||48.20||880 v NZ at Perth 2015|
|7||D. Karunaratne||SL||752||37.73||754 v SA at Colombo (SSC) 2018|
|8||Dean Elgar||SA||724||41.05||784 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018|
|9=||Azhar Ali||Pak||708||44.88||787 v Aus at Melbourne 2016|
|Henry Nicholls||NZ||708*||39.56||709 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2018|
Other selected rankings
|11||Aiden Markram||SA||703*||47.27||759 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018|
|14||Hashim Amla||SA||673||47.23||907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013|
|17||Faf du Plessis||SA||665||42.33||734 v Ind at Centurion 2018|
|23||Asad Shafiq||Pak||626||39.40||758 v Eng at Lord's 2016|
Bowlers (top 10)
|1||K. Rabada||SA||882||21.71||902 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2018|
|2||J. Anderson||Eng||874||26.98||903 v Ind at Lord's 2018|
|3||V. Philander||SA||826||21.54||912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013|
|4||M. Abbas||Pak||821*||16.62||838 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2018|
|5||R. Jadeja||Ind||796||23.50||899 v Aus at Ranchi 2017|
|6||R. Ashwin||Ind||778||25.43||904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016|
|7||Nathan Lyon||Aus||766||31.60||774 v Eng at Adelaide 2017|
|8||Pat Cummins||Aus||761*||24.80||800 v SA at Johannesburg 2018|
|9||J. Hazlewood||Aus||758||26.66||863 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017|
|10||Yasir Shah||Pak||757||28.26||878 v Eng at Lord's 2016|
Other selected rankings
|19||K. Maharaj||SA||692*||27.65||695 v Zim at Port Elizabeth 2017|
|24||Dale Steyn||SA||635||22.64||909 v Win at Centurion 2014|
|36||M. Amir||Pak||501*||31.25||658 v Eng at Lord's 2010|
|39||Hasan Ali||Pak||419*||25.16||434 v NZ at Dubai 2018|
All-rounders (top five)
|1||S. Al Hasan||Ban||415||489 v Aus at Mirpur 2017|
|2||R. Jadeja||Ind||384||438 v SL at Colombo (SSC) 2017|
|3||V. Philander||SA||370||378 v SL at Galle 2018|
|4||Jason Holder||Win||365/*||381 v Ind at Hyderabad 2018|
|5||Ben Stokes||Eng||342||396 v Win at Lord's 2017|
*indicates provisional rating; a batsman qualifies for a full rating after playing 40 Test innings; a bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets.
!indicates career-highest rating
For more information on player rankings, please click here.