Cheteshwar Pujara’s tally of 521 runs in the four Tests in Australia, his best-ever returns on an overseas tour, has vaulted him to third spot in the ICC rankings for Test batsmen. His runs were crucial in India’s historic 2-1 series win that extended their run at the top of the team standings, while Australia remained fifth despite losing a point.
Pujara struck his overseas best of 193 in the drawn fourth Test in Sydney, to follow centuries in Adelaide and Melbourne, and was named Player of the Series. Elsewhere, Rishabh Pant, who also brought up his best Test score of 159 not out in Sydney, was another big gainer, jumping 21 spots to vault into the top 20. No Indian wicketkeeper has been ranked higher in the batting rankings than Pant, who now sits at No. 17.
Pant’s aggregate of 673 points are the highest-ever by an Indian wicketkeeper. MS Dhoni, who retired from Tests in December 2014, held the previous highest rating points (662), and his highest ranking was No. 19. Pant was India’s second-highest run scorer in the series with 350 runs. In addition, he also collected 20 dismissals.
In the first Test in Adelaide, Pant took 11 catches to equal the world record for most catches by a wicketkeeper in a Test. He eclipsed the all-time India record of 10 catches by Wriddhiman Saha, and drew level with England wicketkeeper Jack Russell and South Africa’s AB de Villiers.
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja gained one place to be listed fifth among bowlers, even as he surpassed West Indies captain Jason Holder to climb to second place among allrounders. Jadeja played only the final two Tests, picking seven wickets in addition to a counter-attacking half-century in Sydney.
A few South Africa players also moved up the rankings table, having taken an unassailable lead in the three-match series, with victories in the first two Tests in Centurion and Cape Town. Opening batsman Aiden Markram moved back into the top 10 after scoring 78 in South Africa’ eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the Cape Town Test. He slotted in at No. 10, while team-mate Temba Bavuma moved into the top 30 for the first time.
Among the bowlers, Vernon Philander has gained one position to reach third place while Duanne Olivier, who picked 16 wickets in two Tests, continued his surge to move up to 32nd place from 36th. (ESPNCricinfo)