A match haul of five wickets in the recently-concluded first Test against India in Cape Town has helped Kagiso Rabada to become the number-one ranked bowler in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings released on Tuesday (January 9). The 22-year old has achieved the feat for the first time in his career.
Chasing 208 to take the lead in the three-match series, India were all out for just 135 on the penultimate day of the game. Rabada returned figures of three for 34 and two for 41 against the world number one Test side which helped him to overtake England fast-bowler James Anderson.
Rabada collected five points for his efforts in Cape Town while Anderson, who had entered the Sydney Test as the number-one ranked bowler, has dropped the same number of points after picking up just 1 wicket in the last Ashes Test. With 888 points, Rabada now leads Anderson by a solitary point.
“It’s special to be ranked as the No.1 Test bowler in the world. It is a surreal feeling. It’s what you dream of achieving when you start playing the game,” Rabada said after the win.
“Cricket is ultimately a team sport and I’m thankful for the support from my team mates. It’s a great start to the year personally and for us as a team, hopefully we can continue putting in winning performances,” he added.
Rabada has now become the seventh South Africa bowler to top the ICC Test Bowling Rankings after Aubrey Faulkner, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
Another South African bowler who has made significant progress is Vernon Philander. The former world number one Test bowler took a career-best 6 for 42 in the second innings and has earned 67 points to return to top ten. The 32-year old, who took nine wickets in the game and bagged the player of the match award, jumped from 12th to sixth position.
For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has jumped eight places to rise to his career-best position of 22nd after picking up figures of four for 87 and two for 33. Australia’a Pat Cummins has also achieved his career-best rank of 28th position after picking up eight for 119 in the last Ashes Test.
In the batsmen’s ranking, Australia skipper Steve Smith has retained his number one rank while Virat Kohli has dropped to third place after scoring 5 and 28 in the first Test. England skipper Joe Root, who scored fifties in both the innings of the last Ashes Test, has rose to the second position.
Cheteshwar Pujara has also paid the price for his poor performance in Cape Town as he has slipped from third to fifth.
South Africa opener Aiden Markram and India all-rounder Hardik Pandya have also made good gains. Markram has moved up six places to 48th, while Pandya is now ranked 49th after jumping 24 places. On the other hand, India batsmen Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have dropped in the rankings. Vijay is now 30th after dropping five places, Dhawan has slipped three places to 33rd, while Sharma is on 44th after falling three places.
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