Virat Kohli jumps to career-best rankings; Philander displaces Steyn as best Test bowler

Published: 23 December, 2013 19:44 IST | PTI |

Star Indian batsman Virat Kohli jumped nine places to achieve his career-best 11th spot in the latest Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen issued today.

Kohli, who stroked 119 and 96 in the two innings in the first Test against South Africa, was the second highest-ranked Indian after Cheteshwar Pujara, another centurion in the same match in Johannesburg, who remained on seventh spot after earning 37 rating points.

South African AB de Villiers, one of the two South African centurions to help draw the Johannesburg Test, leads the rankings. He leads compatriot and second-ranked Hashim Amla by 25 ratings points.

Virat Kohli celebrates after reaching his ton in the first innings of the Johannesburg Test against South Africa.

Meanwhile, South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander has achieved the coveted number-one ranking on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers after a stellar performance against India in the drawn Johannesburg Test. Philander has dislodged team-mate Dale Steyn, who had been at the top of table since July 2009 when he went past Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan.

Overall, Steyn spent 186 matches at the number-one position, the second-most ever after Muralitharan.

Philander had entered the Test trailing Steyn by four ratings points. While Philander recorded figures of four for 61 and three for 68, Steyn managed just one wicket.

The contrasting performances resulted in Philander gaining 13 ratings points and Steyn conceding 13 ratings points. This swing means Philander now leads Steyn by 22 ratings points and the 28-year-old from Bellville will now start the Durban Test as the number-one ranked bowler in the world for the first time in his career.

Philander is now the seventh South Africa bowler to claim the number-one rank after Aubrey Faulkner (1914-1921), Hugh Tayfield (1955-1958), Peter Pollock (1969), Allan Donald (1998-1999), Shaun Pollock (1999-2003) and Steyn (2008-2013).

Overall, Philander is the 74th bowler to head the Test bowling ranking.

Philander has also become the third South Africa bowler after Pollock and Steyn to break the barrier of 900 ratings points, considered a landmark for top bowlers.

Philander’s total of 912 ratings points is the joint sixth-best ever, with England’s Tony Lock and West Indies paceman Curtly Ambrose, and the best-ever by a South Africa bowler.

Vernon Philander
Vernon Philander in action during the Johannesburg Test. Pic/AFP

In the team rankings, New Zealand’s eight-wicket win over West Indies in the Hamilton Test has helped it register a 2-0 series win and thereby gain seven ratings points to retain seventh position with 82 ratings points.

West Indies, on the other hand, has dropped behind Sri Lanka in seventh position in the table headed by South Africa (131 rating points). India are at second place with 119 rating points.

England off-spinner Graeme Swann, who retired from international cricket on Sunday, ended his Test career in 15th spot.

Swann’s highest ranking with the ball was when he achieved the number-two position in March 2010. He reached a peak of 858 points later that year.

Swann also spent 41 matches and 111 days in 2011 as the top ranked ODI bowler, first reaching top spot on 3 July 2011.

He has ended his ODI career in 24th rank on the bowling table.

He also spent 35 matches and 338 days as the top ranked T20I bowler, first reaching top spot on 30 December 2010.

Swann has ended his T20 International career in 17th position. 

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