Babar Azam stays No.1


Pakistan captain Babar Azam has managed to hang on to his mantle as the No.1 ranked T20I batter despite the fact a host of India stars made giant strides in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Player Rankings.

India cruised to a 4-1 series triumph in the recently-completed T20I series against the West Indies, and a bevy of their best performers cut into Babar’s lead at the top of the batter rankings.

The ICC released the latest set of rankings on Wednesday. Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant were among the biggest movers as the race for the top-ranking hots up ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Iyer hit an impressive half-century during the fifth and final match of the series and was duly rewarded by jumping six places to 19th overall. Pant’s quickfire 44 in the fourth match saw the left-hander jump seven places to 59th.

Emerging opener Suryakumar Yadav was the leading run-scorer during the series with 135 runs, but the decision to rest him for the final match meant he missed out on the chance to overtake Babar at the head of proceedings.

Yadav remains in second place on the T20I rankings, with Babar now holding a lead of 13 rating points ahead of the eagerly awaited meeting between India and Pakistan at the Asia Cup in Dubai later this month.

The series also saw a group of India’s bowlers rewarded with big moves. Young spinner Ravi Bishnoi’s eight scalps helped the 21-year-old jump 50 places to 44th overall. Team-mates Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav were also big movers, while veteran quick Bhuvneshwar Kumar dropped one place to ninth.

There were no changes to the Test rankings with no red-ball matches held over the last week, while there were some minor movements in the ODI ranks.

In-form all-rounder Sikandar Raza has been a shining light for Zimbabwe in recent times and the experienced 36-year-old has made some eye-catching moves on the latest ODI rankings. Raza has scored consecutive unbeaten centuries against Bangladesh and that has seen the right-hander jump 10 spots to 29th on the batter rankings and an impressive seven places to fourth on the list of all-rounders.