5 batsmen who have dominated Number 1 Test rank: The Sportsrush present before you five batsmen who have retained their top rank.
Becoming the top-ranked batsman is a dream for any batsman playing international cricket. While it takes years of rigorous training to qualify for the highest level, it takes another set of years to become the No. 1 ranked batsman in the world.
Not taking anything away from other formats, but this achieving this landmark in the Test format is valued even more. There is a rare breed of batsmen who become successful in retaining their No. 1 rank in Test matches for years. Among some of these batsmen have been mentioned below.
5 batsmen who have dominated Number 1 Test rank
AB de Villiers (2013-2015)
Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers is among the few batsmen who didn’t give way their top-ranked status in Test matches for a long time. In what can be referred to as the peak of his career, de Villiers remained the No. 1 Test batsman in the period 2013-2015.
Having also ruled the limited-overs formats in this time period, one can assume about his dominance in the world cricket at that time.
In 114 Test matches during his career, de Villiers scored 8,765 runs at an average of 50.66 and a strike rate of 54.51 including 22 centuries and 46 half-centuries.
Kumar Sangakkara (2007, 2010-2012)
Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara is another of those batsmen who have numerous records to their name at the highest level. While his decade and a half old career saw him contributing efficiently across formats, Sangakkara was a whole different ball game in Test matches.
In 134 Tests, the southpaw scored 12,400 runs at an average of 57.40 and a strike rate of 54.19 including 38 centuries and 52 half-centuries. Having scored 11 double centuries in Tests, Sangakkara was only second to the legendary Sir Don Bradman who had scored 12 double centuries in his career.
It is worth mentioning that Sangakkara became the top-ranked batsman first in 2007. However, it was the period between 2010-2012 when he successfully retained his title for so long.
Ricky Ponting (2003, 2005-2007)
Apart from being a world-class leader, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was as good as a Test batsman as anybody. One of the primary reasons behind Australia’s success during their golden period in the 2000s was Ponting’s form with the bat.
Much like Sangakkara, Ponting also became the top-ranked batsman twice in his career. While the first instance happened in 2003, the second one was recorded from the period of 2005-2007.
In 168 Tests, Ponting scored 13,378 runs at an average of 51.85 and a strike rate of 58.72 including 41 centuries and 62 half-centuries.
Sachin Tendulkar (1994, 1998-2000)
There will rarely be a list of batting records which won’t comprise the name of Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar in it. In his 24-year old career, Tendulkar scored 15,921 runs in 200 Tests at an average of 53.78 including 51 centuries and 68 half-centuries.
Tendulkar, who first became the top-ranked batsman in 1994, regained his position from 1998-2000. The fact that Tendulkar achieved the milestone when India weren’t the best of teams at the highest level speaks highly of him.
Steve Smith (2015-2018, 2019)
Australia batsman Steve Smith not playing cricket for more than a year and still regaining his top rank from India captain Virat Kohli within a series almost sums up his greatness in the Test matches. Smith, who was the No. 1 ranked batsman when he got suspended for a year, regained his status on the back of a record-breaking Ashes series.
Steve Smith’s first 11 Tests & next 57 Tests as batsman (total 68 Tests)
Inns – 22
Runs – 620
Ave – 29.52
Top – 92
50s – 5
Inns – 102
Runs – 6353
Ave – 73.02
50s – 22
100s – 26
*Started as leg-spin allrounder to world’s greatest batsman. Incredible @stevesmith49
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) September 17, 2019
In the four matches that Smith played in the series, he scored 774 runs at an average of 110.57 and a strike rate of 64.71 including three centuries and three half-centuries each. While Smith missed out on the overall record (most runs in a series) of Sir Don Bradman by 200 runs, he surpassed Sir Alastair Cook’s 766 runs in Ashes 2010 and his own record of 687 runs in Ashes 2017.
Having scored 6,973 runs at an average of 64.53 and a strike rate of 56.38 including 26 centuries and 27 half-centuries, there’s a reason why Smith is better than Kohli in this format. It is worth mentioning that Smith remained the top-ranked batsman from 2015-2018.