@Ben_Wisden 2 minute read
Ben Gardner takes a look at what it would take for England to knock India off their perch atop the ICC Test rankings.
Joe Root is unequivocal in stating his goals for England’s Test side – “We want to get to No 1 in the world,” he said before the third Test against Sri Lanka. With a win in that final game, England completed a rare overseas whitewash, and moved up to second in the ICC rankings, behind India, who they beat 4-1 in the summer.
England are currently on 108 rating points, eight points off India, who are top with 116 points, but with both sides in action over the next few months, it might not be long until that changes. If other results go their way, England can reach the top spot with a 3-0 win over the West Indies, who they play in January and February 2019.
That would require West Indies to win their ongoing Test against Bangladesh – if they do not, any victories against them would be worth fewer rankings points – and Australia to beat India either 3-0 or 4-0. That result would see Australia reach 108 points, and temporarily overtake England in the rankings, while a whitewash would see them reach 110 points and take top spot moving past India, who would slip to 108 points. One imagines, however, that’s a price England would be willing to pay for a tilt at glory, with a 3-0 win over the West Indies seeing them up to 110 points, and past Australia on decimal points.
However, if India defy history and record their first-ever Test series win on Australia shores, by any margin, they will stay on 116 points or improve their ranking, and even if England were to win their next nine Test matches on the bounce, against West Indies, Ireland, and Australia, they would still be trailing in second place with 114 points to their name.