New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has surged ahead of Steve Smith and Virat Kohli to seize the top spot for batsmen in the ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings after his player of the match effort in the first Test against Pakistan in Tauranga.
Willamson had briefly occupied the top spot towards the end of 2015 but either Smith or Kohli have been number one since then. This year too, Smith was at the top for 313 days and Kohli for 51, before Williamson surged ahead of his two contemporaries from the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2008.
In Thursday’s year-ending update, that also includes performances from the second Test between Australia and India in Melbourne and the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Centurion, Williamson has gained 13 rating points for his effort of 129 and 21 to go 11 points clear of Kohli and 13 ahead of Smith. Kohli is on paternity leave for the last three Tests of India’s ongoing series against Australia while Smith’s MCG outing could only get him scores of zero and eight.
In the ICC Test Team Rankings, New Zealand are in line to wrest the top spot from Australia, who remain fractionally ahead since the Test team rankings are updated only at the end of each series. Even a draw in the second Test against Pakistan though could see New Zealand take the top spot.