Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Virat Kohli rises to top of Test rankings as England call-up Ollie Pope for Dawid Malan

Chris Woakes also returns for the hosts at Lord's as a replacement for Ben Stokes

Virat Kohli is the first India batsman since Sachin Tendulkar in 2011 to be the top-ranked Test batsman. AP Photo
Virat Kohli is the first India batsman since Sachin Tendulkar in 2011 to be the top-ranked Test batsman. AP Photo

India captain Virat Kohli scaled to the top of the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings for the first time in his career when the latest edition was published on Sunday.

Kohli, already the world's top-ranked one-day batsman, found himself at the summit of the Test standings after scoring 149 - his maiden Test century in England - and 51 during the series opener at Edgbaston.

Unfortunately for Kohli, his impressive match haul of could not prevent an India defeat by 31 runs, with England now 1-0 up in the five-match series.

Kohli's two innings boosted his ranking rating by 31 points and helped him end Steve Smith's 32-month reign as the top-ranked Test batsman in Test cricket.


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Former Australia captain Smith is currently serving a 12-month international ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal during a Test against South Africa in March.

Kohli is now on top of the rankings for the first time in his 67-Test career that has yielded 5,754 runs at an average of 54.28, including 22 hundreds.

Kohli is the seventh Indian, and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011, to hold the No 1 Test batting position.

Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other India batsmen to have held the top spot.

Meanwhile James Anderson, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, remained on top of an unchanged top-10 in the Test bowling rankings following his impressive display at Edgbaston.

Ahead of the second Test at Lord's on Thursday, England recalled Chris Woakes in place of Ben Stokes and brought in Ollie Pope to replace the dropped batsman Dawid Malan when they named a 13-man squad.

Stokes took three wickets on Saturday as England won a thrilling first Test, but the hosts have long known they would likely be without the all-rounder at Lord's because of his trial on a criminal charge of affray that starts in Bristol on Monday.

England have now replaced Stokes with fellow pace-bowling all-rounder Woakes, who missed out on a Test at his Warwickshire home ground because of concerns he had not then bowled enough overs following a return from a knee injury.

Middlesex batsman Malan was omitted after managing just 74 runs in five Test innings this season. At Edgbaston, he was out for eight and 20.

Pope, who in common with county teammate Sam Curran - the man-of-the-match at Edgbaston - is aged just 20, has been in fine form for Championship leaders Surrey this season.

He has scored 684 Championship runs at an average of 85.50, including three centuries.

"Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first-class career," said England national selector Ed Smith.

"The selection panel believe that Ollie's performances and character suggest he is well suited to international cricket."

Former England batsman Smith added: "Dawid Malan drops out of the squad for Lord's. Dawid has not found his best rhythm this season, and it may be that his game is better suited to overseas conditions."

Updated: August 5, 2018 05:14 PM



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