England Must Beat Windies To Retain Third Spot

After an enthralling and exciting ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the focus now shifts to the traditional format of the game when the West Indies and England go head to head in a three-Test series which starts in Antigua on Monday.  England is currently sitting in third place on 104 ratings points, while the West Indies is in eighth spot on 76 ratings points.  This gap of 28 ratings points means England is expected to win the series convincingly, and because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, failure to win comfortably will mean Alastair’s Cook’s side will drop points.

A 1-0 series win for England will only help it to retain its pre-series ranking but a 1-1 draw will mean it will drop behind Pakistan in fourth position.  A 2-0 win will earn England one ratings point, while it will move to 106 ratings points in case of a 3-0 series win.  In contrast, eighth-placed West Indies, currently 17 ratings points adrift of seventh-ranked India, will be aiming to narrow the gap with Virat Kohli’s side.  A 3-0 whitewash will help the West Indies close the gap by eight ratings points on the rankings table with England dropping to fifth and just one ratings point ahead of sixth-ranked Sri Lanka (96).

A 2-0 series win will advance Denesh Ramdin’s men up seven rankings points to 83, with England slipping to fifth position on 98 ratings points.  A 1-0 series win for the West Indies will mean it will move to 82 ratings points, while the West Indies will join New Zealand on 99 ratings points but will be ranked above the Black Caps when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.  Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the highest-ranked batsman in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen.

The 40-year-old currently sits in seventh position on 834 points, five points adrift of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.  Chanderpaul’s highest Test ranking came in July 2008 when he occupied the top spot in the summit.  England’s Joe Root is on a career-high 10th position and will be looking to close the 16-point gap on Australia’s David Warner.

Ian Bell (20th) is the only other batsman from either side inside the top 20, while the next highest-ranked batsmen from either side, who are likely to feature in the series are Cook (25th), Gary Ballance (29th), Marlon Samuels (31st) and Darren Bravo (32nd).  In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, fourth-ranked James Anderson will become the 13th Englishman to complete a century of Tests when he will take the field for the Antigua Test. Anderson is just three wickets shy of equaling Ian Botham’s Test record haul of 383, a feat which the legendary all-rounder achieved in 102 Tests from 1977-92.

Anderson is currently on 806 points, one behind Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath, and will be aiming to celebrate the Test by returning inside the top three.  Anderson is joined in the top 10 by his team-mate Stuart Broad who is sitting in eight position and will be eyeing to leapfrog South Africa’s Vernon Philander.  West Indies’ Kemar Roach is ranked ninth, 15 ratings points behind Broad, while left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn (20th) is the next highest-ranked bowler in the series.

Broad in fourth spot is the leading all-rounder on either side in the ICC Player Rankings for Test All-rounders heading into the three-match series.