Proteas trio rise in ICC Test rankings

Kasgiso Rabada (Gallo Images)
Kasgiso Rabada (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and Ben Stokes, who all made their names at previous ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cups, have made impressive gains in the latest ICC Test player rankings.

ICC Test player rankings

The new rankings were released on Wednesday morning following the conclusion of the South Africa-England Test at Centurion - which the hosts won by 280 runs.

Rabada, who took 14 wickets in South Africa’s successful campaign at the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup, recorded figures of 7-112 and 6-32 to vault 32 places to 30th in the ICC player rankings for Test bowlers.

Rabada had started the series in 122nd position and has gained 92 places after earning 447 points following his 22 wickets in the series. As Rabada is still in the qualification period for bowlers, he is expected to move further up the ladder, depending on how he performs later this year. A bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets, and the 20-year-old from Johannesburg has so far taken 24 wickets in six Tests.

De Kock, who captained South Africa at the 2012 ICC Unfer-19 Cricket World Cup and was its best batsman with 284 runs as his side finished third, scored his maiden unbeaten Test century in the final Test against England. As a result, the left-handed wicketkeeper/batsman has broken into the top 50 for the first time, occupying the 48th position after rising 27 places.

Amla, who scored 191 runs in the 2002 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup where South Africa finished runners-up, scored 109 and 96 in the Centurion Test. For this performance, Amla has been rewarded with a jump of four places, which has put him in fourth place. He now trails Kane Williamson and Joe Root, both joint-second, by 29 points, while No 1-ranked Steve Smith is 39 points ahead.

Proteas captain, AB de Villiers, who scored ducks in his last three innings', has slipped to seventh spot.

Stokes, who scored 166 runs and took seven wickets at the 2010 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup where England finished eighth, has achieved career-high rankings in the bowlers’ and all-rounders’ categories. He has moved up three places to 27th in the bowling table, while he has leapfrogged Vernon Philander and Ravindra Jadeja into fourth place in the all-rounders’ list.

The bowling table is headed by England’s Stuart Broad, while India’s Ravichandran Ashwin is the top-ranked all-rounder.

The 2016 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup started in Chittagong on Wednesday with defending champions South Africa taking on hosts Bangladesh at the ZACS and England taking on Fiji at the MA Aziz Stadium.

The biennial 16-nation tournament features nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate Members - Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Nepal, Ireland and Scotland. Teams have been divided into four groups with the top two in each advancing to the Super League quarter-finals and the other two qualifying for the Plate Championships.

Other players to head in the right direction following the Centurion Test are Morne Morkel of South Africa, who has gained two places and is now 10th in the bowling table, and England’s Moeen Ali, who has earned five places and is now in 45th spot in the batting charts.

Outside the top 50, South Africa opener Stephen Cook, who scored 115 and 25, has entered in 55th position, while Temba Bavuma has climbed 18 places and is now in 56th spot following scores of 35 and 78 not out.

Meanwhile, as the ICC Test Championship Table is only updated at the end of a series, India have been confirmed as the No 1-ranked side. India were guaranteed this position after South Africa had trailed 0-2 after three Tests in the four-Test series.

India had previously held the No 1 Test position from December 2009 to August 2011.

Australia and South Africa are on equal points at 109 but when the points are calculated beyond the decimal point, then Australia are ranked second as they have 109.4 points compared to South Africa’s 108.9.

With only 11 points separating No 1-ranked India from sixth-ranked New Zealand, there is potential for further changes before the April 1 annual cut-off date.

In the final series before focus shifts to the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India, Australia will travel to New Zealand next month for two Tests and if they win the series, then they will finish as the top-ranked Test side.

If Steve Smith’s men achieve this, then they will not only reclaim the prestigious ICC Test Championship Mace, but also win a cash award of $1m.

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