Virat Kohli aims to oust Steve Smith from top of ICC rankings


India captain Virat Kohli will look to overtake Australia’s Steve Smith and become the number one batsman in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings during the five-Test series against England, starting in Birmingham on Wednesday.
Kohli trails Smith, who is currently serving a 12-month ban due to his role in the ball-tampering fiasco in Cape Town Test earlier this year, by 26 points and will have to produce a string of strong performances to leapfrog the Australian.
Among the batsmen, both England and India have five each inside the top-50.
India’s Cheteshwar Pujara is sixth, followed by Lokesh Rahul (18th), Ajinkya Rahane (19th), Murali Vijay (23rd) and Shikhar Dhawan (24th), while England’s Joe Root is ranked third (48 points behind Kohli), Alastair Cook (13th), Jonny Bairstow (16th), Ben Stokes (28th) and Moeen Ali (43rd).
Among the bowlers, England fast bowler James Anderson will aim to defend his number-one ranking.
Apart from Anderson, Stuart Broad is the other England bowler who features inside the top-30 in 12th position.
In contrast, India boast six bowlers inside the top-30, including two spinners in Ravindra Jadeja (third) and Ravichandran Ashwin (fifth), and four fast bowlers, namely Mohammed Shami (17th), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (25th), Ishant Sharma (26th) and Umesh Yadav (28th).
India’s left-arm spinner Kuldep Yadav, who caused problems for the England batsmen in the ODI series, is ranked outside the top-50 in 56th position.
In ICC Test Team Rankings, England are placed in the fifth place and will look to improving their current ranking.
If England make a 5-0 sweep, then they will jump to second on the table with a 10-point rise to 107 points, reducing the pre-series gap with top-ranked India from 28 points to just five points.
In contrast, if India can display their strength and prowess which have made them the highest-ranked side in the world, then they will further strength their grip on the top spot.
If India win 5-0, then they will rise to 129 points and England will drop to sixth place on 94 points.