Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Sunday achieved another personal milestone by becoming the seventh India batsman and the first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011, to top the ICC rankings for Test Batsmen. Kohli scored 149 and 51 in India’s 31-run defeat in the first of the five-match Test series against England at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, which added 31 points to his tally and helped him end Australian captain Steve Smith’s 32-month reign as the top-ranked batsman and reach the top of the summit for the first time in his 67-Test career. He now leads Smith (who held the top spot since December 2015) by five points but will have to maintain the form in the remaining four Tests to finish the series as the world’s highest-ranked Test batsman. Apart from Kohli and Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other India batsmen to have achieved number-one rankings during their careers. However, at 934 points, Kohli has become India’s highest-ranked batsman and is 14th on the all-time points tally. Kohli had entered the Edgbaston Test on 903 points, 13 points behind Gavaskar’s record, and is now ahead of the ‘Little Master’ by 18 points.If Kohli can deliver another strong performance in the second Test at Lord’s, he can break into the top-10 by leapfrogging Matthew Hayden, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers, all of whom registered 935 points as their highest. Donald Bradman (961) and Steve Smith (947) are the two batsmen sitting on top of this exclusive list. Kohli is the 76th player to top the Test batting rankings. He is also the number-one ranked ODI batsman, but is ranked 12th in T20Is, 220 points behind number-one ranked Aaron Finch of Australia. England’s 20-year-old Sam Curran is another fascinating story from what was a nerve-wracking 1000th Test match for England. The left-handed all-rounder scored 63 and 24 with the bat and claimed match figures of five for 92 with the ball, which not only earned him the player of the match award but significant gains in the latest rankings. In the batting table, Curran has jumped from 152nd to 72nd, while he climbed 49 places in the bowling table 62nd spot. In the all-rounders’ category, he sits in 37th position after jumping 58 places. England’s wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow is the other England player to improve his ranking. The Yorkshireman now shares 12th position with the West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite after moving up four places. The batsmen to lose ground after the Edgbaston Test include Alistair Cook 17th (down by four places), Lokesh Rahul 19th (down by one place), Ajinkya Rahane 22nd (down by three places), Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dawan, who jointly sit on the 25th spot after slipping two and one spots respectively, and Ben Stokes 33rd (down by five places). In the bowlers’ table, Stuart Broad and Mohammed Shami are the two bowlers inside the top-20 who have headed in the opposite direction, while James Anderson has retained his top position but his lead over South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada has been reduced to two points. Broad is now ranked 13th after falling one place, while Shami is in 19th spot after sliding two places. The Test player rankings will now be updated following the Lord’s Test, which begins on Thursday, 9 August.
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