India lost the top spot in the ICC Test rankings to Australia on Friday (1st May), dropping to third after their stupendous 2016-17 record was eliminated from the annual update as per rules.
India yielded the top spot in Test rankings for the first time since October 2016 but continue to lead the ICC World Test Championship, a league comprising six series played by each of the top nine sides.
India dropped in the ladder largely because the record of 12 Tests victories and just one Test defeat in 2016-17 was removed in the latest chart, the ICC said in a statement.
Virat Kohli's men had won all five series during that period including against Australia and England. On the other hand, Australia had lost to South Africa as well as to India in the same period.
The latest update rates all the matches played since May 2019 at 100 per cent and those of the previous two years at 50 per cent.
Australia not only moved to the top of the Test rankings but also grabbed the no.1 spot in the T20I list for the first time while England continued to lead the men's ODI rankings after the annual update, which eliminates results from 2016-17.
Australia now have 116 points and are followed by New Zealand (115) and India (114).
With only two points separating them, this is the second closest the top three teams have been since the Test rankings were launched in 2003.
The closest for the top three teams was in January 2016, when India had led Australia and South Africa by a single point.
Australian Men’s Team coach Justin Langer paid tribute to the sides for their efforts across the past 12 months.
The Test team retained the Ashes in England and were unbeaten in five home Tests against Pakistan and New Zealand during the Australian summer, while the T20 side was unbeaten across six matches at home and defeated South Africa 2-1 in South Africa this season.
“We have got lots of work to do to become the team we want to be, but over the last couple of years not only have we performed well on the field but we have performed well off it,” Langer said.
“We have earned some respect back from other teams around the world but also from Australia.”
Langer said performance was not the only measure of his team.
“When we started on this journey there had been a lot of talk about Australia wanting to be No.1 in the world in all three forms of the game,” he said.
“We took a different approach. Not once did we talk about being No.1 ranked in the world, we wanted to be No.1 in our values and process. That is what I am most proud of.”
Langer said while Australia may have assumed top ranking, India was still the benchmark.
“I said in my first conference as coach we will know we are a great team if we can beat India in India and that is certainly a great goal for us. We know they are so tough to beat so only then will we really know we can claim the number one spot,” he said.
“The last time we played India here they beat us for the first time in Australia so we will be determined to beat them when they come back.”
Winning the T20 World Cup in October-November is the next priority for the team, but Langer warns just how difficult that prospect is.
“I also know how hard it is to win World Cup,” he said. “England were very deserved winners of the One-Day World Cup last year and everything has to go right, you can’t have an off day.”
South Africa have suffered the biggest rating fall of eight points, which sees them drop below Sri Lanka into sixth place.
They had won three series in the period culled, while lost eight of their nine Tests since February 2019, playing against Sri Lanka, India and England.
In the ODI team rankings, reigning world champions England (127) have increased their lead over India from six to eight points.
New Zealand remain in third place, three points behind India. The top ten rankings remain unchanged.
In contrast, the updated T20I team Rankings see plenty of changes. Australia (278) top the list for the first time since the T20I rankings were introduced in 2011.
Pakistan, who had overtaken New Zealand to reach top position in January 2018 and then spent 27 months there, are now fourth with 260 points.
England have moved into second position with 268 points while India are up one place to third, just two points behind.
Afghanistan are down from seventh to 10th while Bulgaria are the biggest gainers, up 12 places to 51st in the 84-country list of teams that played the requisite six matches in the past three years.