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South Africa players top all Test rankings

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 4, 2013

Comments: 49 | Text size: A | A

Hashim Amla scored his 19th Test hundred, South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 1st day, January 11, 2013
Hashim Amla has overtaken Michael Clarke in the Test batting rankings © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Hashim Amla | Jacques Kallis | Dale Steyn
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of South Africa
Teams: South Africa

South Africa's current dominance of the Test scene is highlighted by the updated player rankings which give them the No. 1 batsmen, bowler and allrounder in the format.

Hashim Amla, who is also the No. 1 ODI batsman, jumped above Michael Clarke after the Johannesburg Test to complete the trio. Dale Steyn, who was Man of the Match after a career-best 11 wickets, and Jacques Kallis consolidated their respective No. 1 positions.

Amla made 37 and an unbeaten 74 at the Wanderers to move eight points above Clarke. Kallis had a solid all-round match, scoring a first-innings fifty then chipped in with three wickets.

"I am surprised and happy with my position as the No.1 ranked Test batsman. However, I'm also mindful that rankings change quite regularly," Amla said. "It's been a great year for our squad, and to be honest I still don't think that I am the best batsman in our team.

"What has been most pleasing though for us has been the all-round contribution from everyone in the squad that has been the main reason for our success over the last few years.

"Needless to say, it is always easier to be at the top of your game and successful when you are part of a winning team. Dale and Jacques have been tireless workhorses for the Proteas and continue to consistently put in quality performances for our team, it is no wonder that they are at the top of the bowling and all-rounder rankings."

Steyn's outstanding match, to follow a productive series against New Zealand, has given him a new career-best ranking of 908 to put him comfortably ahead of Vernon Philander in second position. There are almost 100 points between Steyn and the third-ranked bowler, Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

I am very impressed by this current SA team. The subcontinent is their last big test and in my opinion i think they would definitely beat all the subcontinental powerhouses on their own turf, with or without a specialist spinner. I would say this test team will be the team to beat for the next decade or two.

Posted by Smahuta on (February 6, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

@short_cover Are you aware steyns previous best was in india right? In fact SA play away from home more than at home so your theory is complete BS. It takes real talent to stay the workds number one bowler for 3 years plus. If he is over rated, then every other bowler should not be rated at all. THx for listening.

Posted by short_cover on (February 6, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

I know my comments might get taken negatively. But I'll give it anyways. Amla is only getting started and there has/is/will be no one like Kallis's talent as an all-rounder. I do feel that bowlers like Steyn are heavily over-rated... even in statistical terms. For a bowler to rely so much on swing is a sign of their dependency on certain conditions only. Remember, there have been bowlers in the world who got the ball to swing in All conditions and not just in the Eng/SA/Aus/NZ. Infact, the main difference b/w Steyn and J. Anderson is pace, otherwise they are exactly the same bowlers. In contrast, look at his record in UAE during last years Pak/SA Test seriies. He was just another bowler, literally. While here, he becomes a revelation. So if a bowler's performance sways this much only due to conditions, I have a hard time rating him. And since he plays mostly on wickets that support 'his' bowling, the stats soar.

Posted by Wallaroo on (February 6, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

If one was to combine the Aussie team of the late 90's - mid 2000's and the current Saffa team their would be 6 Aussies and 5 Saffas. Pretty even balance. Smith (c), Hayden, Amla, Ponting, Kallis, Waugh (vc), Gilcrest, Steyn, Philander, McGrath & Warne

Back up players would be Martyn, Langer, Faf & AB de Villiers

Posted by legfinedeep on (February 6, 2013, 0:50 GMT)

@din7 - why do you attribute the Protea's win against Oz to luck? That demonstrates you bias against SA. When SA come back to save or win a match/series, then it is by sheer "luck" that they win. But over the years, whenever other teams would come from behind to beat SA, it wasn't because of "luck", it was because SA "choked"? What drivel.

Give credit where credit is due. A lot of people like to brandish that "choking" word - but fail to realize that you have to be a *consistently* strong team to begin with to even get into great position, or finals to lose from. But lose double standards and call a spade a spade, when SA comes from behind to pip the opposition, don't call it luck, call it the opposition choking!

Posted by TheRisingTeam on (February 5, 2013, 20:56 GMT)

lool!!! Hafeez labelled by ICC as "best all-rounder in the world" exposed by South Africa what kind of player he really is. His 4 wicket haul was against tailnders so nothing special. Just want to warn Hafeez that Shakib is after you and is going to regain both his number 1 position in ODIs and Tests next month he's getting ready so enjoy that undeserving position as much as you can now because its going to change hands soon.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (February 5, 2013, 20:31 GMT)

There is no doubt that Kallis is up there with other greatest all-rounders in cricket. His achievements are phenomenal. I would rate him as the greatest all-rounder cricket has ever produced along with Gary Sobers. His batting records alone can get him to be one of the all time batting greats. Amla is also getting in Ponting, SRT, Dravid league in batting.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (February 5, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

Look at his modesty - he thinks he isn't even the best batsman in the team let alone in the world. I mean, looks like modesty and humbleness have no limits when it comes to Hashim Amla. All the very best to you Hashim. You made us Indians proud with your Indian Ancestory. What could anybody say about Steyn and his mastery of the 22 yards with the cherry in his hand, sent down with pace, swing, accuracy and no mercy? What a pacer. An able replacement to the Mighty White Lightning. Kallis, the one and only Kallis. Hate him for those two centuries he scored against us (India) in the final test and was THE difference between series drawn vs series loss to South Africa. Walks into my team first, then and only then, other batsmen will be drafted in. Absolute delight to have followed Kallis. I'm very glad for Proteas for their success. Congratulations to Team South Africa and all the South African fans.

Posted by ahson4cricquet on (February 5, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

There is no doubt that south africa is best test team today.but all it depends on individual player's contribution and unity and understanding between each other.as far as south africa stays away from controversies they will be no 1

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 5, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

This is undeniably the best ever South African test side that are tipped to dominate the world game in the test arena for many years to come. There are at least 5 players from the current side that would get into an all time South Africa test XI. Pakistan are a solid, consistently performing unit under their current captain, however it's more through the qualities of team work, tactical nous, collective efforts, structured game plans and a stable environment that has contributed to their success as opposed to individual talent or sheer natural ability of an individual person. There is a debate that Younis and Ajmal will get into an all time Pakistan XI, but still it would take some convincing for others. The difference between the sides in sheer superiority, recognition and natural ability needs no further explanation.

Posted by Soso_killer on (February 5, 2013, 17:18 GMT)

@Mr_Ronan and hardy1, it is always wise to read what was said and in what context before mouthing off. I was refering to the bowling/bowlers. I meant that i back our bowlers, especialy our pace attack than theirs. If we had a Swann and he could bowl a doosra, then i think that would even things out, even though Warne would still be a devil. McGrath would be in for Morkel obviously. Either than that i am not changing anything with this attack. As for the batting i did not want to go there but, Smith (better than Hayden and Langer. look at his record), Kallis, Amla, AB, Steyn, would walk in that team make no mistake about that.

Read what was said 1st before commenting, i never said this team was better, its to early for that.

Posted by Soso_killer on (February 5, 2013, 17:08 GMT)

@din7 Lol, People tend to talk about Australia and injuries we had more injuries than Australia at key moments. JP Dumminy 1st test. Kallis, Vernon and Steyn. When we had a fully fit team (half fit Kallis), we squashed them like little bugs. You talk about luck, if having 4 opposition players injured and cant win, then you are useless. If i am not mistaken, Australia are coming here this year. I would love to see Clarke scoring double hundreds in these conditon. I can promise you there wont be flat pancakes.

Posted by Soso_killer on (February 5, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

@Mikey thats utter rubbish. I rate Donald over Lillee, for your info. Dale Steyn is a million miles better than Lillee.

I wrote an article recently about why Lillee had more wickets, even though he played two games less than Donald. What was obvious was the number of balls Lillee bowled compared to other fast bowlers.

Lillee bowled 18 467 balls compared to Donald's 15 519. To put that in Perspective Donald averaged 35.92 overs per game, Lillee 43.96. D. Lillee and R. Hadlee are the only fast bowlers to average 40+ overs per game, only spin bowlers have those numbers. Donald would have had to play 85-86 games to bowl the same amount of deliviries. If Donald bowled the same amount of balls as Lillee in would have had 393 wickets, to Lillee's 355 because of his superior Strike Rate.

Posted by sean_kelly on (February 5, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

I was quite hopeful of a challenge to SAs dominance from Pakistan leading up to this series. And after they skittled the Proteas for 253 I thought it would be a great series. However, if Pakistan, or anyone for that matter, want to win in SA, they need to spend a month playing games against franchise teams before taking on the Test side. SA pitches offer more bounce and lateral movement than anywhere else in the world. No matter how good a batsman you are, that takes some getting used to.

Posted by applethief on (February 5, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

If there is cloning research out there, it needs to swing into action to replicate a few more Hashim Amlas. I'm convinced that there is no kind of batting style he can't accomplish - a top 6 of nothing but Amla's would probably be unbeatable. I'd say he's even more valuable to this SA team than Kallis is. Steyn's astonishing, and not just his stats. Evenmore remarkable is the fact that he's not on the injured-list merry-go-round that every other test side's quicks love to ride all year round

Posted by Dhushan on (February 5, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

This is probably something which won't happen again. South Africa is the #1 test team in the world. They also have the #1 test batsman Hashim Amla, the #1 test bowler Dale Steyn, the #1 test all rounder Jacques Kallis and the only player to captain 100 test matches all in the same team. I bow my head down to you guys. RESPECT!

Posted by ozwriter on (February 5, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

amla, what an absolute gentleman. he is so modest/humble, hard to praise him in the manner that his performances deserve

Posted by BellCurve on (February 5, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

SA hasn't lost since the beginning of last year. That's 13 matches and counting. The biggest contributors were Kallis with 1000+ runs @ 59 and 17 wickets @ 23 each; Steyn with 63 wickets @ 21; Amla with 1300+ runs @ 75; Philander with 54 wickets @ 19; and De Villiers with 1000+ runs @ 63 and wicket keeping duties in most matches. Smith, Morkel, Faf, Duminy and Alviro also made significant contributions. The only weak link in the team remains the spinner. But with 6 legends in the making the team can afford it.

Posted by philvic on (February 5, 2013, 8:19 GMT)

Mikey76 The Batsmen nowadays are on average better (or at least much more successful) than those during eras of Truman, Marshall, Lillee etc. Look at the modern batting averages - it used to be exceptional to get above 50 and in present day several have achieved this. Probably partially due to better batting pitches but either way it is more difficult to get them out . Despite this Steyn (and Donald for that matter) ranks well up there in the top tier with the bowlers you have mentioned.

Posted by din7 on (February 5, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

Undoutedly SA deserve to be no1 and all three steyn, kallis and amla deserve to be no1....but they cant be compared to great aus or wi teams...no1 can touch them...and SA can still be beaten as shown by aus recently...i still dont take SA won that series..its just because of plain luck that aussies lost all their frontline bowlers to injury till final match else aus would have beaten them..after watchin last match team sheet..i easily prdicted SA will win ..that win was mainly due to luck..overal Sa have a wonderful team, though they miss quality spinner which eng has and looks more balanced.

Posted by shaww on (February 5, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

@joeyinoz ... absolutely agree, but give us our time to shine.

Since coming back to international cricket we've always had a world class team, tho always just eclipsed by the Aussies. But now we have a dominant team in test cricket which is just getting stronger, more aggressive ... which Oz had ... but doesn't have anymore.

South Africa are currently the best test team at the moment, no doubts (above Oz too joey). We do have aging players, though hopefully the limited overs format will seed a future.

So short lived it may be (i doubt it tho). Give us a chance at brashness, arrogance, and inappropriate comments on blogs ;)

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 5, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

Now in his latest interview after the 1st test, Rameez is advocating the inclusion of Imran Farhat. He is also saying that it can be done at the cost of any middle order batsman. I think Rameez has lost his head. I think he wont mind if it comes at the cost of Azhar or Shafiq.

The younster that he should be taliking about is Haris Sohail. Haris is the only batsman in the present squad to have an average of over 50 in the first class matches. I Think Haris needs to be urgently drafted into the eleven as an extra batsman. This can come at the cost of the specialist spinner, since in the 1st match Petersen & Ajmal could manange only 1 wicket between them. In SA the pitches dont offer anything to the spinners. All spinning efforts are wasted.


Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 5, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

Has Umar Gul ever featured in the top 10 in any format ?

I ask this because I dont remember having ever seen him in the top ten.

Rameez has always projected Umar Gul as the spear head of the Pakistani attack. Frankly speaking i feel that with a bowling average of 33 he does not deserve to be in the team. But the biggest mistake that Misbah is committing is by allowing him to open the bowling. In this match also he hardly bowled at the stumps with the new ball.


Posted by realfan on (February 5, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

as a indian wish we had one styne in our team.what a bowler.. wonder what he will do to our indian team when v visit them.

and KALLIS , THE MISTER CRICKET..... yes he is the only mister cricket for me.... he can bat as opener, he can come 1 down, 2 down.he can bat low down the order and save match for their team... he can field at slip... i am sure he can keep also.... he can bowl at 140+ when the team needed.... he is averaging more in test cricket than anyone in current playing cricketers... he has not even injured once.. atleast not even injured for longer time.... he was not in sort of out of form in his entire career , not even once.

and amla..... wow what a humble cricketer

smith... what more a team can have as a captain..

divilliers.... ah he can keep, he can field, he can attack, he can defend... he wins matches both by attcking and defending. he saves matches by playing slow... he wins matches by accelarating the score

what more a nation can ask for an internatinol team

Posted by Bowlersholding on (February 5, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

Agree with Andrew Warren. Now that Kallis bats in a team where he can trust the other players to do their part, things are a bit different. Easy to say someone is a match winner and knows when to take the game away from opposition, when he is surrounded by other brilliant players - thinking of some of the players he has been compared to. We are blessed to have witnessed the play of this phenom.

Posted by vrn59 on (February 5, 2013, 2:59 GMT)

Absolutely brilliant from Amla (top-ranked batsman in both Tests and ODIs) and Kallis (one of the best ever). Steyn is sure to become one of the fast bowling greats. Apart from these three, SA have several other players in the top rankings too. de Villiers and Kallis are both ranked within the top 10 batsmens' list, with Smith edging very close too. Philander is rated behind only Steyn in the bowlers' list, with Morkel also part of the top 10. Philander and Steyn are highly rated allrounders as well (though that doesn't count for a lot, considering there are no genuine Test allrounders today except for Kallis and maybe Shakib al Hasan). du Plessis looks like he has a bright Test career ahead of him and Alviro Petersen has showed excellent improvement over the last 18 months or so. Best team in the world: SA, without a doubt!

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 1:25 GMT)

Though I am an Indian, I have had no hesitation for accepting the fact that South Africa had been the top cricketing nation in the world, for quite some time. If at all they had a problem, it was the occasional "choking" in some of the crunch situations. Even that has become a rarity; not anything more than any other world cricket team had been going through and still going through. Absolutely brilliant team, these Saffas. And superb (and by and large very humble -- that is a rare combination) set of players too. It is impossible not to admire them!

Posted by joeyinoz on (February 5, 2013, 0:21 GMT)

Win three world cups in a row, dominate teams away from home and pummel them into submission at home, twice win 16 tests in a row and have three players who would be first picks in an all-time world 11 (Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist), and maybe you could lay claim to being one of the world's greatest ever teams. But let's not get too carried away over beating Pakistan, a team who hasn't played a home test in 5 years. Clearly, SAF is the best in the world at the moment and may remain so for a few years. But as the recent Oz series demonstrated, you are not lightyears ahead of the nearest competition.

Posted by mikey76 on (February 4, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

Yes this is a talented bunch of cricketers but Dale Steyn is not the greatest fast bowler ever. He has statistically a very good record but it is hardly a golden age of batsmen at the moment. The likes of Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee and Fred Trueman will always be ahead of him. Kallis is tougher to deny, some older pundits rate Sobers higher. He is a wonderful cricketer and when he retires SA stock will fall dramatically.

Posted by Mr_Ronan on (February 4, 2013, 23:41 GMT)

Soso Killer: Are you kidding mate? Full credit to SA, they have a terrific side and are playing very well. But comparing them to the great Aussie side is folly. Only Kallis, Amla and Steyn would have got a game in that lineup. Don't forget that not long ago this SA side were very close to losing a Test series against a rebuilding Aussie team. SA should be proud of their efforts but don't do an England and get ahead of yourselves. After they got to no. 1 in 2011 comparisons started with the great teams of yore and next thing they were getting spanked by woeful Pakistan.

Posted by Hardy1 on (February 4, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

@Soso_killer, admittedly this South African team is great but for them to achieve what the Australian team of the late 90s to early-mid 2000s did there is still a long way to go. McGrath, Warne, Hayden & Lehmann/Martyn/Gilchrist (even as a specialist batsman) would have walked into this team in place of Morkel, Peterson, Pietersen & Rudolph/Elgar without a doubt.

And yes Amla, Kallis & ABDV are in great form but Ponting at his peak was still something else, not to forget Brett Lee too. Not to mention the Australian team's sheer dominance in the ODI format as well. The other major advantage the Aussie team had was the strength in depth, Stuart MacGill, Stuart Clark, Langer, Katich, Gillespie, really just something else. South Africa's biggest advantage over that team is a certain monsieur Jacques Kallis, a better all-rounder cannot be wished for.

Posted by DeckChairand6pack on (February 4, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

And he's a Durban boy! Nice one Hashim. Congrats to Dale and Jacques and rest of the Proteas. Made me feel very proud. Good effort by the 49ers to put up a bit of a fight in the 2nd innings. I would expect them to do better in Cape Town, but sadly for them, Newlands is a ground where we have a great record. In gambling parlance this is a nailed on home banker!

Posted by NasserAliKhan on (February 4, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

This team has the best batsmen, best pace bowlers, and best fielders. This team will rival most closely the greatest team of all times - West Indies of mid 70's to late 80's. They also have the best allrounder in Kallis, who should be rated as one of the 4 best cricketers ever; Sobers, Imran, Kallis, and Bradman (who was merely a batsman, but one that would be hard to beat). As a Pakistan supporter, I congratulate this SA team. Pakistan got what they deserved and it is PCB and the captain to blame for the 3 biggest reasons of failure: nepotism in selection, lack of tests, and agreeing to play the best team in their own back yard without any real acclimatisation - should have played minimum 5 first class games prior to the first test.

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (February 4, 2013, 20:40 GMT)

This is the best group of test cricketers our nation has produced. Best fast bowler ever Dale Steyn, best allrounder ever JH Kallis.

Posted by Soso_killer on (February 4, 2013, 20:37 GMT)

C.A-SA1987 the Aussie bowling probably had an edge because of Warne, maybe. But only him and McGrath would walk in this team, make no mistake about that. I think our bowling attack deserves alot of credit than its getting.

Posted by 9ST9 on (February 4, 2013, 19:36 GMT)

Take a bow SA you guys have clearly mastered test cricket and are deserving the #1 ranking. Disregard the patchy ODI form or the fact that your are tagged 'chokers' in ODI/T20 tournaments - SA is the best Test team in the world no doubts about that. With that bowling attack (dismissed Aus/Pak/NZ for below 100 scores in recent times) it will take a long time to knock you guys off the pedestal.

Posted by ZuluKingdom on (February 4, 2013, 19:33 GMT)

Wow, Amla what a humble guy. KZN is proud of you! And S.A is very proud of you! We are are blessed to have great players like Amla, Kallis, Smith, Steyn etc.. Hopefully we can dominate Test cricket for a long time. With the talent we have I believe we can.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 4, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

Wow What a beauty....Really really very very talented Combination on Proteas..If they stopped Choked then No body can beat South africa..

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 4, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

So proud to be a protea supporter, all that hard work is paying off for the team. What what a wealth of talent!!!

Posted by C.A-SA1987 on (February 4, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

It appears that the one thing that may set us aside from the Great Aussie Team is that although their bowling was of the top draw (especially with Warne there), our batting appears to be reaching heights previously unheard of (when on song).

It is very rare for us to fail twice in a match as a batting unit.

#'s 3-7: Hash, Jakes, AB, FAF, JP (when fit) have the potential to really develop into something Legendary.

This is in addition to a solid looking opening pair with the most experienced Test Cricket Captain in history.

Lots gets said about our bowling, but i reckon our batting is our strong suit.

Posted by Armoured_cricket on (February 4, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

Hats off to the SA selectors for persisting with Amla after his modest test beginnings ....look what their faith in him has produced! Probably the second best batsman for the Saffers since re-integration....after Kallis of course.

Posted by luvcricket_new_gen on (February 4, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

What a team of players! Clearly dominating test cricket. Rest of the teams are few yards behind. Congrats SA, from India

Posted by Sinhaya on (February 4, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

Brilliant work South Africa and congratulations. You all are deservingly number 1 in tests.

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