India spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have finished the year in the top two positions in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, which has seen South Africa fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott finish with career-high ranks after taking four and five wickets, respectively, in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Port Elizabeth. Meanwhile, the Indian cricket team ended 2016 as the numero uno side.
Ashwin also continued to top the list of all-rounders with no change among the top five in the list as Jadeja retained his third spot.
This is just the second time the top two spots in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers have been occupied by India players, with the pair emulating left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi and leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, who were ranked one and two in 1974, the ICC said.
Jadeja grabbed 10 for 154 in the fifth final Test and finished with 26 wickets in the five-match series against England while Ashwin ended with 28 wickets as India completed a 4-0 series victory, culminating with an innings and 75 runs win in Chennai.
Jadeja and Ashwin have both played match-winning roles during India’s series victories over West Indies, New Zealand and England in 2016.
Both players have also put in some important shifts with the bat as India extended their unbeaten run in Test matches to 18 with the 4-0 series win over England.
In the ICC Rankings for Test Batsmen, India skipper Virat Kohli ended the year at second position behind Australian run machine and captain Steven Smith.
Pakistan opener Azhar Ali has moved up 10 places to reach a career-high sixth rank, riding on his scores of 205 not out and 43 in the second Test against Australia in Melbourne.
Apart from Stephen Cook, the other newcomers to shine with the bat in their first year are Sri Lanka’s Dhananjaya de Silva (31st rank), Australia’s Peter Handscomb and India’s Karun Nair (joint-55th rank) and India all-rounder Jayant Yadav (59th rank).
Meanwhile, Team India has ended the year as the No.1 ranked Test side with 120 ranking points, 15 points clear of second placed Australia (105 points).
(With PTI Inputs)