How India can lose the No. 1 ranking to Pakistan by next month

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© BCCI Media

How India can lose the No. 1 ranking to Pakistan by next month

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SportsCafe Desk

11/16/2016

India are sitting pretty at the top of the ICC Test rankings at the moment with a 6-point lead over Pakistan. But is India’s place really safe? Could things change drastically by the end of their on-going series against England?

The ICC Test rankings merry-go-round is getting tastier with every passing series. India might have wrestled the pole position from Pakistan, but things can very well turn around by the end of on-going India-England series. Most of the experts had predicted a whitewash for India, but if the first Test is anything to go by, the visitors can possibly upset the applecart. By the time England’s tour of India gets over, both the Australia-South Africa series and the New Zealand-Pakistan series would also have ended and depending on the results of these series, there could be some significant changes in the ICC Test rankings.

This is how the current ICC Test rankings look :

 © ICC

Here are the various scenarios and how it can affect India’s place at the top:

Most likely outcome

Australia 0-3 South Africa: The visitors have annihilated the hosts in the first two Test matches at Perth and Hobart respectively. As Graeme Smith had said, there is something seriously wrong with this Aussie team who have been on a dismal run of form off late. The chances of them turning things around in the last Test at Adelaide looks slim at the moment, and a 0-3 whitewash looks the likeliest outcome.

India 3-0 England: Let us be fair, the Rajkot pitch was unlike we have witnessed anything in India recently, at least in the longer format of the game. The famous dust bowls are expected to be rolled out from the next match, and India will comfortably win the series. The Rajkot pitch will probably remain the last greenery the English bowlers will see for a long time. The visitors do seem to have another draw in them, though.

New Zealand 0-1 Pakistan: Pakistan are on a roll at the moment having won against West Indies, following their heroic performance in England, where they came back to draw the series. Of course, over the years talented Pakistani teams have imploded from time to time, but Misbah-ul-Haq seems to have things under control at the moment. They will be up against a New Zealand side who will have some self-doubts about themselves after the hammering they received in India, and the visitors could not have chosen a better time to visit them.

How these results will affect the rankings -

 © ICC

- India will remain at the top. In fact, they will extend their lead over Pakistan, which currently stands at 6 points, to 10 points.

- South African will climb to 3rd as Australia drop to 4th. England will drop to 5th.

Unlikely outcome

Australia 0-2 South Africa: If Steve Smith finally comes out of the shell that captaincy has put on him, and South Africa take their foot off the peddle in the dead rubber, and Australia, finally, manage to turn things around (a lot of ifs), we might see a draw, and that is the best they could hope for keeping in mind their current form, in the final game.

India 2-1 England: The England batsmen have shown that they are better equipped to handle spin than most people had expected. Perhaps the Bangladesh tour was an eye-opener for them. They might throw a few more punches before going down.

New Zealand 1-1 Pakistan: New Zealand can be a different proposition at home. Far from the minefield tracks served up in India, the Kiwi pacers and batsmen might recover their mojo, and given Pakistan a fair fight in an intriguing, yet drawn, series.

How these results will affect the rankings -

 © ICC

- India remain at the top and extend lead at the top to 9 points over Pakistan.

- England climb to 3rd spot as Australia drops down to 4th.

Stuff of nightmares

Now this where things get tricky for India. If England wins the series and Pakistan whitewash New Zealand (both are necessary for this to happen) India will lose the top spot in the rankings. Does this scenario seem like too much of a stretch at the moment? Not really. In fact, India will drop to the third spot if England wins the series 3-1, which does seem like a bit of a stretch, and Pakistan wins 2-0.

Australia 0-3 South Africa

India 0-1 or 0-2 or 1-2 or 1-3 England

New Zealand 0-2 Pakistan

- Pakistan regains their place at the top of the rankings.

- India drop to No.2 or No.3 depending on the margin by which they lose to England.

- South Africa jumps over Australia to No.4.

Just for fun, this is how the table would look like if India loses the series 4-0.

 © ICC

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