16 July ; Gautam Gambhir became the number one batsman, replacing Pakistani run-machine Mohammad Yousuf inthe latest ICC Test Player rankings issued on Wednesday.Incidentally, Gambhir reached the top when the ODI batting chart is also led by an Indian, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Yousuf, who had returned to the batting table last week in number one position after his century in the first Test at Galle, flopped in the second Test to drop to fifth position.
Accordingly, Gambhir became the sixth India batsman to lead the batting table in this version of the game.The 27-year-old left-handed opener is the first Indian batsman after former captain Rahul Dravid to top the batting chart. Dravid had briefly become the number-one batsman after hitting centuries in each innings (110 and 135) of the Kolkata Test against Pakistan in March 2005.
Dravid had first achieved the top batting ranking in January 1999 and has been number-one for 36 Tests between 1999 and 2005.
Sachin Tendulkar is the other India batsman in the last 15 years who has topped the batting chart. He first led the table in November 1994 while last time he occupied the number-one position was in August 2002 after the Leeds Test against England.
Overall, Tendulkar has been the number-one batsman for 125 Tests between 1994 and 2002.
The other India batsmen to have achieved number-one positions in their careers are Gundappa Viswanath (seven matches in 1975), Sunil Gavaskar (46 matches between 1978-80) and Dilip Vengsarkar (17 matches between 1987-88).
Pakistan captain Younus Khan was able to retain his second position in the Test batting rankings but fell nine points behind Gambhir who, without hitting a ball, has gone ahead of both the Pakistan batsmen for the first time in his 25-Test career in which he has scored 2,271 runs at an average of over 54.
Gambhir’s 847 points is relatively low for a number-one position in modern times as usually a batsman nearer to the 900-point mark goes to the top, which reflects that he has benefited from some of the other top batsman being off their peaks.
With only 10 points separating Gambhir from third-placed Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka, the top order is expected to change again, of course depending how the Pakistan and Sri Lanka captains perform in the third and final Test which starts in Colombo from 20th July.The only big movers in the latest rankings are Pakistan opener Fawad Alam, who has entered the table in 52nd position after his 168 on his Test debut, and Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal whose century in the second innings has helped him rocket 22 places to 62nd spot.