ICC president Shashank Manohar congratulates BCCI for 500th Test
Dubai [UAE], Sept.21 : International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman Shashank Manohar has congratulated the Board of Control for Cricket in India for the country's 500th Test match, which will be the first of the three-match series against New Zealand to be played in Kanpur from Thursday.
"This is a huge milestone in the history of Indian cricket. India has been a very important member of the ICC with its rich heritage and great following for the game," Manohar said.
"India has produced world-class players who have entertained fans the world over. I congratulate the BCCI on this historic occasion and I'd like to thank the BCCI for their kind invitation to share in the celebration. The ICC wish its team all the best for this 500th Test and in the years to come," he added.
Meanwhile, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, who will present the BCCI with a silver plate to commemorate the occasion at the Green Park Stadium, said; "I've witnessed the passion that fans here have for the game and I always enjoy watching cricket here. I'm honoured to be invited to be a part of the 500th Test celebrations."
On the field, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will work towards regaining the number-one spot in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers in the three-match series.
Third-ranked Ashwin, who held the top spot for a fortnight at the end of 2015 and again for a week in July this year, starts the series just 19 points adrift of top-ranked Dale Steyn of South Africa and 11 points behind England's James Anderson.
Ashwin needs only seven wickets to reach 200 Test wickets and could become the second fastest to the milestone after Australia leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett if he achieves the feat in the series opener at Kanpur, which will be his 37th Test.
Ashwin has also been the top-ranked all-rounder since overtaking Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan in December last year.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja too has an opportunity to gain important points on home pitches to better his eighth position, while for New Zealand, left-arm pace bowler Neil Wagner will be leading a pack of pace bowlers ready to take the challenge of slower pitches in India.
Wagner will be looking to improve his ninth position, which has come in a fruitful year that has seen him take 27 wickets. Tenth-ranked Trent Boult too would be looking to go up the ranks, while Doug Bracewell will be the visiting side's third-highest ranked bowler in 26th position.
In the Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is best-ranked from either side in third place with 876 points, just two points behind England's Joe Root in a list led by Australia captain Steve Smith with 906 points.
India's Ajinkya Rahane is the other batsman in the series inside the top 10 in eighth position, while experienced New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor (14th) and India captain Virat Kohli (16th) will be aiming to break into the top 10.
However, India will be targeting to seize back the top spot in the Test Team Rankings from arch rival Pakistan by winning the series against New Zealand.
A 1-0 or 2-1 win will take India to 111 points but ahead of Pakistan on decimal points while a 2-0 win will see India clearly ahead at 113 points. A 3-0 win will move it to 115 points. New Zealand, which is currently on 95 points, will remain at seventh position with any of these margins with the maximum drop to 91 points in case it loses all three matches.
A 1-1 series draw will result in India dropping to fourth position on 108 points and New Zealand rising to fifth spot on 97 points.
If New Zealand is able to edge India by 1-0 or 2-1, it will move to fifth position at 100 points with India one slot ahead on fourth position with 104 points. New Zealand can overtake India to take fourth position only with an improbable 3-0 win.
If India goes to the top of the rankings, it would be doing so for the third time this year and fourth overall. Apart from its short stay at the top in August, it was also top-ranked in January-February this year. Its longest stint at the number-one position was from November 2009 to August 2011. (ANI)