Pat Cummins' four-year reign as the top-ranked Test bowler is finally over, with the evergreen 40-year-old James Anderson dethroning the Australian skipper. This is the sixth time Anderson has become the No. 1 ranked bowler in the longest format of the game.
The right-arm seamer from England picked up seven wickets in the first Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui, helping him leapfrog both Cummins and India’s ace offspinner R Ashwin in the ICC Test rankings.
This makes Anderson the oldest cricketer to top the Test rankings since Australia’s great Clarrie Grimmett in 1936. It was in May 2016 when Anderson became the No. 1 ranked Test bowler for the first time, and recently held on to that top position for five months in 2018.
Anderson might be 40 but he has been in phenomenal form of late, having claimed 43 wickets in his last 10 Tests at an average of 17.8 and a strike rate of 44.8. The senior paceman has played a massive role in England's recent Test success as they have won 10 of their last 11 Tests under skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum.
Overall, Anderson now has 682 wickets in 178 Tests at an average of 25.94 and a strike rate of 55.8, studded with 32 five-wicket hauls and three 10-wicket hauls. Talking about the leading wicket-takers in Test cricket, Anderson is now only behind Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Shane Warne (708).
Anderson's lead at the top is very slender though, with Ashwin remaining in second place on a total of 864 rating points and just two rating points behind the England pacer. Cummins drops to third on 858 rating points, but could still regain top billing with some strong performances during Australia's ongoing Test series against India.
Meanwhile, New Zealand pair Tom Blundell (11th) and Devon Conway (17th) also rose to career-high positions on the rankings for Test batters, while England trio Ollie Pope (23rd), Harry Brook (31st) and Ben Duckett (38th) also earn the same recognition with their own highest ratings.
India, who have already taken a 2-0 lead in the four-match Test series against Australia, also have a couple of players who made significant gains. Ravindra Jadeja moved up seven places to ninth on the updated list for Test bowlers, while Axar Patel jumped two places to fifth overall on the latest Test all-rounder rankings.