POSTED: Monday May 4th 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
England will gain one place with a 2-0 win over West Indies
But the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings suggest an even contest is on the cards
England’s big summer of cricket gets underway at Lord’s on Wednesday with the first of two Tests against the West Indies. Currently placed sixth on the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship table, Andrew Strauss’s team will immediately move up one spot if it wins both matches.
Victories at Lord’s and again at Durham would earn England three ratings points giving it a total of 101, a single point ahead of Pakistan. A 1-0 series win would leave it on 100 ratings point but behind Younus Khan’s team by a fraction.
However, a 2-0 win for the West Indies would leave just one ratings point separating the two with England dropping three points to 95 and the men from the Caribbean gaining five points to 94.
This short Test series is the first action in a busy few months for England. Following three ODIs against the same opposition, it will host the eagerly awaited ICC World Twenty20 in June followed by the five-Test Ashes and seven ODI series against Australia before the team heads to South Africa in September for the ICC Champions Trophy.
There will be a number of players keen to use these two Tests to kick-start their summer and gain a bit of momentum and on paper the sides look pretty evenly matched. The West Indies has three players in the top 25 – including number-one batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul – compared to England’s four, while both squads boast two bowlers in the top 25.
England captain Strauss is currently in 15th position in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen but such is the tightly packed nature of the ladder at present, he could conceivably break into the top 10 with strong performances at Lord’s and Chester-le-Street.
England’s highest-ranked batsman is Kevin Pietersen in sixth position but the 28-year-old will feel that he belongs even nearer to the top and, after a break of nearly two months from Test cricket, he will be anxious to hit the ground running and post some big scores.
Naturally, the highest-ranked batsman from either side is Chanderpaul who is still placed in first position. The 34-year-old has been a rock in the West Indies’ line-up in recent seasons and much of his team’s fortunes could again depend on his form with Ramnaresh Sarwan his only team-mate in the top 20.
Captain Chris Gayle is just outside that in 21st position so a return to the top 20 is well within in grasp, just as it is for England duo Paul Collingwood (22nd position) and Alastair Cook (joint-23rd place).
Meanwhile, Jerome Taylor of the West Indies, in seventh position, is the only player named in either squad currently enjoying a place in the top 10 of the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers.
England’s injured pair of Ryan Sidebottom in 10th position and Andrew Flintoff in joint-15th place will play no part in the match at Lord’s so there could be opportunities for James Anderson (joint-15th place), Monty Panesar (20th), Graeme Swann (31st) and Stuart Broad (46th) to make their mark on the latest rankings, not to mention potential debutant Graham Onions of Durham.
For the West Indies, Fidel Edwards (in 22nd position), Chris Gayle (40th), Sulieman Benn (49th) and Darren Sammy (59th) can all make an impression as everyone still chases Muttiah Muralidaran of Sri Lanka who is the number one-ranked bowler in the world.
With Flintoff out of action, Gayle is the only man from either team in the top five of the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders and a good performance in the two Tests will most likely lift the big Jamaican above Flintoff into fourth position. South Africa’s Jacques Kallis still rules the roost in that category.
6-10 May – England v West Indies, Lord’s (Test)
14-18 May – England v West Indies, Durham (Test)
Rankings previews for other upcoming series will be sent out in due course.
For more information on the ICC Player Rankings go to: www.reliancemobileiccrankings.com
For more information on the ICC Test Championship rankings go to: www.icc-cricket.com
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Name: James Fitzgerald
Phone: +971 4 368 8347
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