De Kock, Rabada continue to charge up the ICC Test player rankings
Wicketkeeper-batsman de Kock and pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, both stars of past ICC U19 Cricket World Cups, have achieved career-best rankings after having already broken into the top-20 following fine performances in the opening Test in Perth.
De Kock top-scored in the Hobart Test with a knock of 104 to move up eight places to 12th position in the latest MRF ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, which were released on Wednesday morning.
Rabada has jumped four places to take 16th slot in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.
Rabada grabbed five wickets in the match, including four for 34 in the second innings.
Both de Kock and Rabada are still in the qualification period, which means they have a good chance of making more gains in the day-night Test in Adelaide, which starts on Nov 24.
In other gains for South Africa players, man of the match Kyle Abbott’s nine wickets have helped him move up 20 places to a career-best 36th position, batsman Tenda Bavuma’s innings of 74 has lifted him to a career-best 39th rank, while all-rounder Vernon Philander has returned to the top 10 among bowlers and the top five among all-rounders with match figures of five for 52 and 32 with the bat.
For Australia, Usman Khawaja’s scores of four and 64 have helped him move up five places to 29th position in the batsmen’s list, which is headed by his captain Steve Smith.
In the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings, South Africa is now eyeing fourth position after taking a 2-0 lead.
To make this happen, it will have to win the day/night Test which starts in Adelaide next Thursday.
In this scenario, South Africa will jump from 96 points to 105 points in fourth position, while Australia will slip from 108 points to 102 points to take fifth position.
Australia, in contrast, can avoid dropping behind South Africa if it manages to win or draw the Adelaide Test.
If it wins, then it will finish behind England in fourth position by a fraction of a point, whereas a draw will keep it ahead of South Africa at 103 points on decimal points.
Meanwhile, New Zealand (91 points) hosts Pakistan (109 points) for a two-Test series starting Thursday which the visiting side will be hoping to win in a bid to close the gap with number-one ranked India, which is on 115 points.
The following are the series permutations:
Pakistan wins 2-0: Pakistan 112 points; New Zealand 89 points
Pakistan wins 1-0: Pakistan 110 points; New Zealand 90 points
New Zealand wins 1-0: Pakistan 104 points; New Zealand 95 points
New Zealand wins 2-0: Pakistan 102 points; New Zealand 96 points
A 1-1 or 0-0 draw: Pakistan 107 points ; New Zealand 93 points
In the individual rankings, Pakistan has four batsmen in the top 20 – Younus Khan (4th), captain Misbah-ul-Haq (11th), Azhar Ali (13th) and Asad Shafiq (18th).
For New Zealand, captain Kane Williamson is ranked third and the next on the list is Ross Taylor in 21st position.
Conversely, New Zealand has a better count in the top 20 for bowlers as pace bowlers Neil Wagner (11th), Trent Boult (12th) and Tim Southee (17th) figure in it. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah is the only Pakistan bowler in the top 20 in fifth place, with pace bowler Wahab Riaz the next on the list in 25th position.
MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings (as of 16 November 2016, before the start of New Zealand-Pakistan series)
Rank Team Points
1. India 115
2. Pakistan 109
3. Australia 108
4. England 105
5. South Africa 96
6. Sri Lanka 96
7. New Zealand 91
8. West Indies 69
9. Bangladesh 65
10. Zimbabwe 5
(Developed by David Kendix)