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Clarke back as world's best batsman

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 26, 2012

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke celebrates another century, Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day, November 22, 2012
Michael Clarke has struck four double centuries in 2012 © Getty Images

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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by I-Like-Cricket 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.

Posted by Ozzy505 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 !

Posted by jackthelad 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.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

4 double centuries really makes the No 1 ranking inevitable.

Posted by hoodbu on (November 27, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

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

Posted by kjkool82 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 27, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

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

Posted by Dags- 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.

Posted by blah123454321 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

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

Very well deserved no. 1 spot. Best middle order batsman in the modern era. Great captain too.

Posted by DylanBrah on (November 27, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

And rightfully so. England wishes they could produce a great like Clarkey.

Posted by Ben1989 on (November 27, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

@FFL, get a life & go attack another country would you?? regardless of how the runs have been scored, until Cook scores 4 double tons in a yr, Pup is number 1, even if Cook was supplied with a flat track, I'd still like to see him rip attacks apart as Clarke has done & score 4 double tons in a yr, something that has never been done (keeping in mind flat tracks are everywhere & you can't say this yr was a once off) true cricket lovers wouldn't whinge constantly like you & call the aussie team minnows, when it's clear we're not, regardless of the pitches, as both teams have to play on them, Aussies have had it over SA clearly in this series, something of which England did NOT achieve nor get close, answer that one for me champ?

Posted by bobagorof on (November 27, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

Front-Foot-Lunge: What are you on about, mate? Clarke averages 38 in India - a far cry from 'about 20' - including his 151 on debut. Cook averages 66 - again, a far cry from 'in the hundred'. I'm not sure I'd rate Clarke as the best batsman in the world just yet, though he is is supreme form at the moment, but making ridiculous comments doesn't help your case.

Posted by mthw on (November 27, 2012, 2:41 GMT)

Actually @Front-Foot-Lunge, Clarke averages 38 in India not 20 as you mention. Cook averages 66 in India, not in the hundreds as you mention. Also it annoys me that you mention he that Clarke is a flat track bully. If batting in Australia is so easy, why has no other player in the current SA v Australia series scored 2 double tons in a row like he has? Scoring double tons is not easy no matter what surface you play on.. To have the focus and concentration to score 4 in a calendar year is deserving of the no.1 ranking..

Posted by c3vzn on (November 27, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge Clarke averages 38 in India. Also I like how when Indian players score there, they are flat track bullies but when Cook scores it's suddenly minefield.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

Best batsman in the world? LOL! These ICC and other organizations really try their best to prop up mediocre players, don't they? They just can't stand that India has had the greatest batsman.

Clarke is not even fit to untie Sachin Tendulkar's shoelaces. As long as Sachin is playing, there can be no doubt who the best batsman in the world is - by miles. He has not only been the best every single year since 1989, he is hands down the best ever by now. In another twenty years people will say "Bradman..who? Tendulkar...woooohh!"

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 1:17 GMT)

There is no logic in suggesting Clarke hasn't achieved something special when in every test match there are 21 other batsmen who face the same conditions and fail to score as many runs. He's not out there on his own, getting special treatment and having the pitch rolled before each over he faces. "Flat track bullies" is the catch-cry of fans of teams who inexplicably don't perform under what seem to be otherwise good batting conditions. The idea that pitches in India are "minefields" is a joke. Look at the first test of the England-India series ... India score 521 and chase down 58 for 1 wicket. England score 191 in the first innings but then come back with 413 in the second. Where's the "minefield"? It's not the fault of the pitch, it's called a batting collapse and it's down to poor mental application and good bowling. Cook, just like Clarke, scored runs when plenty of other batsmen around him failed. Both played stand-out innings when others went for single-figure scores.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 1:00 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: The rankings absolutely do take that into account. The algorithms are available for your scrutiny if you'd like to take a look at them. (You could maybe argue that they don't emphasize the nature of the pitch enough, but then it's very difficult to convert qualitative characteristics into quantitative analyses.)

Posted by Mitcher on (November 27, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

How fortunate the rankings are based on an extended period and not on one troll's blinkered view of the world. Anyone who actually saw Clarke's 150 against SA in SA would never accuse him of being a flat track bully.

Posted by mikey76 on (November 27, 2012, 0:29 GMT)

I wouldn't begrudge Clarke the no.1 ranking. He has scored an awful lot of runs in the last 12 months or so. I think peitersen is still the best batsman in world cricket as his 186 on a bouncing turning pitch proved, but Clarke has also made runs on difficult wickets (151 in Cape Town). Cook and Amla are close behind too.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

That over of Morkel were he smashed 5 fours..Blimey! Demoraliser at his best!

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 23:53 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge Clarke actually averages 38 in tests in India, including his debut series. Not great...but not 20, either. Cook averages 66, but has played 4 fewer tests so the average is currently a little skewed by his recent hundreds. If you take Clarkes first 6 games only his average was a healthier 47. My point is...take your blinkers off and instead of wildly and inaccurately guessing about statistics, take 2 minutes to use this website and find out how incredibly wrong you are instead of making me do it for you. Also, it's a bit rich calling him a flat track bully for scoring double centuries against the number 1 bowler in the world leading the attack of the number 1 team in the world. Meanwhile, these 'minefield' pitches Cook is playing on are constantly turning up 500+ team scores - wow...must be REALLY tough for the batsmen.

Posted by Ravendark on (November 26, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

@FFL: The players don't really have a say in what kind of pitches they play on. I don't know but I suspect the rankings do consider runs scored at home versus away but come on, the guy scored 489 runs for one dismissal against the alleged best attack in the world. His form has been scary good for the last 15 months.

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

yall must have not heard of the tiger aka chanderpaul 38 and he still roaring

Posted by FatBoysCanBat2 on (November 26, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

@Etienne: I wouldn't say he's "by far the best batsman in the world." I think one Alistair Cook would have something to say about that...and maybe Cheteshwar Pujara. @Front-Foot-Lunge: The rankings actually take all of that into account

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

why is M.Hussy not in the top 10 ? he has a had a great year coupled with more than 3 centuries

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

Michael Clarke. Thanks for proving everyone (including myself) wrong.

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

Clarke is no flat - track bullies, for a long time he has widely been regarded as one of the best players of spin the world. He is one of the most consistent Australian batsmen in India, a place that a lot of other Australian greats like Ponting have struggled.

Posted by Wallaroo on (November 26, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

There should be no doubt, Pup is definitely the best on form right now. Hopefully he stays there for some time.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (November 26, 2012, 20:44 GMT)

Michael Clarke is the number 1 batsman at a number 5 team.

Posted by hhillbumper on (November 26, 2012, 20:39 GMT)

lets see how he goes in India against their world class bowling attack.irony

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 20:05 GMT)

Front-Foot: Whilst Adelaide is a pretty flat track, he has scored 3 doubles and a tripe century this year, the only batsman to ever do that. To say that is simply being a flat track bully is naive.

Also, you might want to get your facts straight. Clarke averages 38 in india.

filtered 2004-2010 10 686 151 38.11 2 9 6/9 32.88 1 15 0


Posted by johnathonjosephs on (November 26, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

Clarke deserves it. His form this year has been simply scary. Cook, Pietersen, and Kallis will slowly rise up rankings too while if Marlon Samuels gets enough games he will also be in the Top 10. The great Sangakkara is facing some stiff competition

Posted by cric_info_man on (November 26, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

Cooks centuries have been the best in the recent series, leading from the front in both matches. As far as the flat track bully concept is concerned its a ll a bunch of rubbish, these flat tracks are spin friendly, and spinners normally do well on these tracks. Just like the the Aussies, English and SA have seaming wickets which assist their bowlers and batsmen due to favorable home conditions, the subcontinent teams also have the right for home advantage by preparing spin friendly/flat track wickets. its called HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE so this concept is old and only held in the past when cricket was controlled by the seaming nations. Also one cannot just jump to number one position on a couple of good performances so it will take time for Cook to get to the top and with his talent he will get there sooner. A huge fan of English cricket. I think Monty and Swan have made the playing field even. And most importantly all teams have the right to manipulate home conditions to their advantage.

Posted by PrasPunter on (November 26, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

Counts for nothing when as a team, we don't win matches. Wins, that too against formidable opponents like Eng and SA matter the most. Beating an over-the-hill indian team 4-0 counts for nothing if Aus can't beat SA in the Perth test. With the current form of our bowlers, i doubt if we can come close to beating Eng in a single test come June, let alone winning the series. And Eng's confidence would have gone up several notches after their amazing feat in india. However, Aus you beauty !! love you !! Go for it !!!

Posted by TahirMahmood on (November 26, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

@Etienne De Beer - really ageed with you. pup is by far the best batsman in the world....

Posted by TahirMahmood on (November 26, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

Michael Clarke Deserve the No. 1 test ranking after having a wonderful year. His record runs making in this year made him the 1st man to make 4 times more than double hundred. His team also truly deserve No. 1 ranking....

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

He Deserve The No.1 Spot.He is Playing Some great Innings. Fearless Batting. Especially Last test match inning is joy to watch. Coming at 5 and hitting double ton in day is amazing.

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Rangana Herath might end up as the number one ranked bowler after the SLvNZ match, Sanga will remain or go down after the reckless hook shot scoring 0

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 26, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

LOL at this!! What is this the world ranking for flat-track bullies??!!

Playing on a flat deck and scoring on a minefield (like Cook has done in consecutive matches) are two different games. And they should be recognized as such. When Clarke goes to India he averages about 20. Cook averages in the hundred. Who should take the award? Logic defies the batting rankings. True cricket followers have a better more accurate view of how batting skills are applied around the world. Minefield Vs Flat track? Minefield clearly far more difficult.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (November 26, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

I think KP at his best is an even better batsman. But no arguments against 4 double hundreds i guess!! Hope some of Indias overhyped flat pitch champs watch and learn.

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

And rightfully so. Clarke is by far the best batsman in the world. As a South African fan, this worries me for Perth.

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