India Lose Number One Test Spot After 42 Months

By Dhanu Delphi on May 4, 2020

India have taken pride in being the No. 1 test side in the world and rightfully so. Team India have been ranked number 1 on the ICC test rankings since 2016 and held the top spot for 42 months. When the ICC decided to update its points recently, it caused a change in the rankings as Australia surpassed India.

Top Three Teams With No. 1 Test Streaks

There is not a lot of difference in terms of the test points margin. But as it stands the Aussies take first place with 116 points. New Zealand have also jumped ahead of India with 115 points. Kohli’s men now have to be content at third with 114 points. While there is not a lot of difference between the three teams, the drop has ended India’s 42 month record at the top, giving them the record of having the third highest reign at the top in test cricket ranking.

The first spot goes to the Australian team that was captained by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. The Aussies managed to hold the number one spot for 95 consecutive months during 2001 and 2009. This was when the Aussies had a bunch of match winners in their side including the likes of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne.

The West Indies have the second longest streak at the top of the test cricket rankings. Their reign was under the captaincy of the great Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards. The West Indies were at the top for 89 consecutive weeks during 1981 to 1988 as they had the most talented side in the world at that time with the likes of Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Andy Roberts.

Kohli Responsible For India’s Test Success

Virat Kohli must definitely take a lot of credit for India’s test success. The test captaincy was thrust on him after MS Dhoni stepped down in 2014 and Kohli embraced the captaincy and decided to play an aggressive brand of test cricket. Kohli led from the front in instilling fitness and nutrition as a key component of his lifestyle, a strong work ethic in the nets and a ruthless attitude towards winning.

His style worked well for some players and not so well for other players. Those who could not conform to his standards were slowly cut and players who were willing to follow in the captain’s footsteps were given more opportunity. It worked well for Team India as they went on to win 12 matches and lose just one during May 2016 to April 2017. This is the period when India accumulated a lot of test points and it help propel them to the top.

Getting to the top they say is easy but staying there is even harder. This has been one of Kohli’s main objectives during his captaincy; he wanted to continue to dominate the test arena in both home and away tours. The fact that India has now been dethroned will not rest easy; Kohli will be eager to reclaim the top spot.

Still No. 1 In World Test Championship

While India lost top spot on the Test rankings, they are still #1 in the World Test Championship ranking. Even with the test series loss against New Zealand earlier this year, India are number one with 360 points. The Aussies have 296 points and are in second place. The Kiwis are in third place with 180 points.

Team India must come up with a plan if they are going to regain their ranking and set another streak!