Virat Kohli sets ICC rankings on fire, Ravichandran Ashwin the new undisputed king, Axar Patel creates ripples
Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel earned big in the latest Test rankings released by the ICC.
A host of Indian cricketers including Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel have made massive improvements in the ICC Test rankings after India's 2-1 series win over Australia in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Leading the way is Virat Kohli, who after a gap of over three years, scored his first Test century and was thus propelled seven places to be ranked No. 13 on the list. Once the World's No. 1 ranked batter in all formats, Kohli had fallen out of the Top-10 in July last year after a string of poor performances, and while he still hasn't broken in top 10, his knock of 186 for Indian fans is hopefully a sign of things to come.
A jump of seven places is a result of him being India's highest and overall, the second-highest run-getter of BGT 2023. Only Rishabh Pant (ranked 5th) and Rohit Sharma (10th) are the two Indians ahead of him. Kohli ended the series with 297 runs, next only to Usman Khawaja. Kohli may not have gotten the big scores but throughout the series the former India captain showed signs of his free-flowing self. After a 44-run knock in Delhi which many believed was the best Kohli looked in a long time, he stepped up in the series decider, holding up one end. Kohli's 28th Test century which took 1205 days ensured India took the lead and batted Australia out of the contest.
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Meanwhile, Ashwin cemented himself as the sole No. 1-ranked bowler after displacing James Anderson from the top. After a back-and-forth battle, Ashwin and Anderson were named the joint No. 1 ranked ICC Test bowlers, but yet another five-wicket-haul in Ahmedabad – the 32nd of his career – catapulted him to 869 points, 10 clear of the legendary England pacer. Ashwin, with 26 wickets in the series was adjudged the Player of the Series, sharing the honours with spin partner Ravindra Jadeja. Ashwin finished the series with two 5-wicket-hauls - 5/37 in Nagpur and 6/91 in Ahmedabad to go with four 3-wicket-hauls as well. Pure domination.
Besides Kohli and Ashwin, Axar too was rewarded handsomely for enjoying a series to remember. The left-arm spinner may have picked up just two wickets, but his exploits with the bat, which saw him score 264 runs including three half-centuries rocketed him up by eight places to be ranked 44 on the list of Test batters. Axar produced a career-best innings of 84 in the first Test and followed it with a 74-run knock in Delhi as India wrapped up comprehensive wins with both performances coming during crucial junctures of the Test match where his team needed them the most. If those weren't enough testament to how far Axar's batting has come, on his home town of Ahmedabad, the all-rounder smashed an entertaining 79 giving Kohli company for a massive 262-run partnership.
There were positives for Australia too with Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green and Travis Head’s performances getting acknowledged. Khawaja, who led the charts with 333 runs made a splash of two position to be ranked seventh, while all-rounder Cameron Green, following a maiden Test century, leapfrogged 11 places to reach a career-best 26th position. Travis Head, meanwhile stayed put at fifth.