Steven Smith ends 2016 on top in ICC rankings, Azhar Ali jumps to sixth
Steven Smith has ended 2016 as the top-ranked ICC Test batsman while Azhar Ali has jumped to a career-best ranking of sixth after his marvellous performance in the Melbourne Test.cricket Updated: Dec 31, 2016 23:33 IST
Steven Smith has ended the year just like he started, on top of the Test rankings for individual players. The Australian skipper led from the front in the series against Pakistan as he led them to an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The Melbourne Test saw Smith continue his magnificent summer as he became the seventh batsman to go past 1000 runs in the calendar year. He smashed an unbeaten 165, his third consecutive hundred in Melbourne and his partnership with Mitchell Starc, who blasted 84, was crucial in Australia’s innings and 18-run victory.
The MCG game was also memorable for Azhar Ali, as his knocks of 205* and 43 allowed him to jump 10 places to finish a career-best sixth in the rankings. Azhar became the first Pakistan batsman to score a double century in Australia and he became the first Pakistan player to score two double hundred plus scores in a calendar year. Azhar also went past 1000 runs in Tests in 2016.
Smith’s tally of 937 points is the 10th highest ever since the ICC rankings were released. David Warner also had reasons to smile as his whirlwind 144 helped him to fifth position in the rankings.
Among the bowlers, there is no change as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja occupy the top two spots in the ICC rankings.
The first Test of 2017 will see Australia square off against Pakistan in Sydney, with the hosts aiming for their fourth consecutive 3-0 scoreline Down Under.