Cricket : Rabada, De Kock and Amla shoot up ICC rankings

Cricket : Rabada, De Kock and Amla shoot up ICC rankings
during day three of the 4th Test at Supersport Park on January 24, 2016 in Centurion, South Africa.

Proteas players move up the ICC rankings

during day three of the 4th Test at Supersport Park on January 24, 2016 in Centurion, South Africa.

Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and Ben Stokes, who all made their names at previous ICC U19 Cricket World Cups, have made impressive gains in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings, which were released on Wednesday morning following the conclusion of the Centurion Test which South Africa won by 280 runs.

Rabada, who took 14 wickets in South Africa’s successful campaign at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014, recorded figures of seven for 112 and six for 32 to vault 32 places to 30th in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.

Rabada had started the series in 122nd position and has gained 92 places after earning 447 points following his 22 wickets in the series. As Rabada is still in the qualification period for bowlers, he is expected to move further up the ladder, depending on how he performs later this year. A bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets, and the 20-year-old from Johannesburg has so far taken 24 wickets in six Tests.

De Kock, who captained South Africa at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012 and was its best batsman with 284 runs as his side finished third, scored his maiden unbeaten Test century in the final Test against England. As a result, the left-handed wicketkeeper/batsman has broken into the top 50 for the first time, occupying the 48th position after rising 27 places.

Amla, who scored 191 runs in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2002 where South Africa finished runner-up, scored 109 and 96 in the Centurion Test. For this performance, Amla has been rewarded with a jump of four places, which has put him in fourth place. He now trails Kane Williamson and Joe Root, both joint-second, by 29 points, while number-one ranked Steve Smith is 39 points ahead.

Stokes, who scored 166 runs and took seven wickets at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 where England finished eighth, has achieved career-high rankings in the bowlers’ and all-rounders’ categories. He has moved up three places to 27th in the bowling table, while he has leapfrogged Vernon Philander and Ravindra Jadeja into fourth place in the all-rounders’ list.

The bowling table is headed by England’s Stuart Broad, while Ravichandran Ashwin is the top-ranked all-rounder.

The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2016 started in Chittagong on Wednesday with defending champion South Africa taking on host Bangladesh at the ZACS and England taking on Fiji at the MA Aziz Stadium.

The biennial 16-nation tournament features nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate Members – Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Nepal, Ireland and Scotland. Teams have been divided into four groups with the top two in each advancing to the Super League quarter-finals and the other two qualifying for the Plate Championships.

Other players to head in the right direction following the Centurion Test are Morne Morkel of South Africa, who has gained two places and is now 10th in the bowling table, and England’s Moeen Ali, who has earned five places and is now in 45th spot in the batting charts.

Outside the top 50, South Africa opener Stephen Cook, who scored 115 and 25, has entered in 55th position, while Temba Bavuma has climbed 18 places and is now in 56th spot following scores of 35 and 78 not out.

Meanwhile, as the MRF Tyres ICC Test Championship Table is only updated at the end of a series, India has been confirmed as the number-one ranked side. India was guaranteed this position after South Africa had trailed 0-2 after three Tests in the four-Test series.

India had previously held the number-one Test position from December 2009 to August 2011.

Australia and South Africa are on equal points at 109 but when the points are calculated beyond the decimal point, then Australia is ranked second as it has 109.4 points as compared to South Africa’s 108.9.

With only 11 points separating number-one ranked India from sixth-ranked New Zealand, there is potential for further changes before the 1 April annual cut-off date.

In the final series before focus shifts to the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, Australia will travel to New Zealand next month for two Tests and if it wins the series, then it will finish as the top-ranked Test side. If Steve Smith’s side achieves this, then it will not only reclaim the prestigious MRF Tyres ICC Test Championship Mace, it will also win a cash award of $1million.