ICC news November 26, 2012

Clarke back as world's best batsman

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Clarke's record breaking form has seen him become the No. 1-ranked batsman in world cricket. Clarke's double centuries in Brisbane and Adelaide against South Africa have been rewarded with a return to the top of the ICC rankings.

It is the third time Clarke has officially been recognised as the best batsman in the world. Two centuries in the 2009 Ashes series saw him rise to No. 1 in August 2009 and he went back to the top of the rankings following 329 not out and 210 against India in January. Two further double centuries - the most in a calendar year by anyone - and he is leading the pack once more, having begun 2012 in a lowly 20th place.

Clarke could also be holding the Test Championship mace if Australia beat South Africa in Perth to win the series. South Africa need only a draw to maintain their No. 1 status.

But Clarke's stint as No. 1 batsman could be shortlived if Kumar Sangakarra can turn around his lean form against New Zealand. Sangakarra is second in the rankings, having previously usurped Shivnarine Chanderpaul - now third after a double century and 150 against Bangladesh. Fellow West Indian Marlon Samuels has broken into the top 20 for the first time, reward for his best year in Test cricket and his career-best 260 in West Indies' win over Bangladesh in the second Test.

Kevin Pietersen is back in the top 10 after arguably his best innings, 186 against India in Mumbai. In seventh position he is one place below England captain Alastair Cook, whose centuries in the first two Tests in India have pushed him up a place.

In the bowling rankings, Graeme Swann, now sixth, has also jumped back above James Anderson, 10th, to become the highest-rated England bowler following his eight-wickets at the Wankhede.

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  • Jessee on November 28, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    @FatBoysCanBat2. Cook has scored those two centuries in the same time that Clarke has scored 2 doubles (plus the double and the triple against India earlier this year and if we want to go back further, that magnificent 150 against SA last year in SA), plus a couple of quite handy scores against the Windies earlier this year.

  • Clinton on November 27, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    Guys let's not forget that rankings are form-based, so if you take that into account Clarkey is deserving of the no1 ranking in the world at the moment given the sensational run-scoring form he's in.(Even Andy Flower was ranked no1 in 2001 when he was in outstanding form yet Zim was never ranked in the top 6 in Test cricket). But Clarke has stated many times that these individual milestones doesn't matter as much to him as the success of the Australian test team & that's why I've got the utmost respect for him & I hope the team wins at Perth !

  • Robert on November 27, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    These individual player rankings are fairly nonsensical, as they can change almost overnight with a couple of good (or bad) innings; team records, calculated over long runs of series and taking strength of opposition into account, are a little more credible, though still pretty fatuous on the whole (at the moment there is no clearly dominant side in the world, nor has been since the great Australian side of a few years ago disintegrated). This is to take nothing away from Clarke, who is absolutely on fire at the moment and has certainly staked his claim to be classed a great middle-order batsman. It is simply to point out that these rankings are merely paper games, and have little relevance to the actualities of Test cricket. Some people like them (Lord love us, even believe them!) but to me they are just daft side-issues.

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    4 double centuries really makes the No 1 ranking inevitable.

  • Umair on November 27, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    Why doesn't this article link to the actual ICC rankings?

  • Kristin on November 27, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge - your over the top pro English rants are becoming tiresome. Please go and study the game around the world and take off your rose coloured glasses. Yes Cook has scored two excellent hundreds in India, but how was his form at home against SA? Century in the test at the Oval but not much else on condiions he should know well. Are you going to tell me that a man who scored 329* and 210 against the former no.1 team and 259* and 230 against the current no.1 in the same year is not the best batsman in the world? have to remember this takes in more than just the recent 2 games my friend.

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    @front-foot-lunge - You're right! Australia is the home of the flat track, long infamous for bore-draws and run-fests, just look at the average runs per wicket in Oz vs India and the incidence of draws.

    Hang on, the average runs per wicket is higher in India... that's weird, they don't have a reputation for slow, low pitches do they? They seem to get more high-scoring draws too...

    Hmmm... It's almost as if you don't know what you're talking about.

  • Bryn on November 27, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    he is the worlds best by so much that it is actually unbelievable

  • Darren on November 27, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge, Clarke averages 54 against India in general and 38 in India. He scored 151 on his test debut in Bangalore. Not that bad really.

  • blah on November 27, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge cut the man a break... he is averaging 140 at the moment and has scored not one, not two but four double test hundreds this year alone, a record. there is no doubt in the world that he is currently the form batsmen of the world and deservedly worthy of the number one ranking

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