ICC Test Rankings: Ashwin, Smith end the year grabbing top spots: Witnessing the form of his life, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ends the year on a high note as he rose to a career-best No.1 in the International Cricket Council”s Test rankings for bowlers.
He is only the second Indian, after the legendary left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi in 1973, to be ranked as the No.1 bowler in Tests.
The right-arm offie finished the year 2015 with most scalps – 62 wickets in 9 Tests, ensuring he took over from the speedster Steyn, whose year has been ruined by injury. The Proteas pacer took four wickets in the first innings of the first Test against England, but a shoulder injury compelled him to bowl only 3.5 overs in the second innings and is doubtful for the next test.
Ashwin said: “Finishing the year as the No 1 ranked Test bowler is like an icing on the cake that I have managed to build over the past last 12 months. I always wanted to get there one day. There can”t be a better way to finish the 2015.”
The year 2015 will be a memorable one for the canny off-spinner as he is also currently the No.1 all-rounder in Tests. The only other Indian bowler in the list of Top 10 is Ravindra Jadeja, who also rose a spot to be No.6.
Meanwhile, Australia skipper Steve Smith’s century in the Boxing Day Test against West Indies took him back to the top of the ICC”s Test batting rankings. He was on No.4 before his knock of 134 and 70* and surpassed AB de Villiers, Joe Root and Kane Williamson on his way.
The 26-year old is the third Australian batsman in the past decade after Ricky Ponting (2005 and 2006) and Michael Clarke (2012) to end the year as the highest ranked batsman.
Meanwhile, emerging batsman Ajinkya Rahane ended at 11th among Test batsmen and he is the only other Indian in the Top 20.