India's captain MS Dhoni is confident that his side can hold on to the No. 1 spot in Tests for a long time, even though they are scheduled to play only two Tests - against Bangladesh in January - in the next 11 months.
A proposal to include two Tests during South Africa's visit in February is under consideration by the two boards, and India are also slated to host New Zealand in October next year for a three-Test series according to the Future Tours Programme (FTP), which has been widely criticised by some teams for the disparity in series distribution.
Dhoni though, was confident that they will play more than four Test matches next year. "Quite a few Test matches are proposed and I don't think that we will play only four Tests next year. We will play more than that."
India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 24 runs in the third Test in Mumbai earlier this month, thereby winning the three-Test series 2-0 and jumping from No. 3 to No.1 on the Test ladder for first time since the rankings came into place in May 2001.
On receiving the Test Championship mace from ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat in Delhi, Dhoni said, "It is a special feeling to receive this mace. I am taking this on behalf of the team and the BCCI. Being an Indian, it is a proud moment. We have really worked hard as a team in the last 14 months to get to this position. We want to remain here longer and everything depends on our performance."
"I'm proud to be leading a team that has displayed a penchant for translating potential into performance. Our ascent to No. 1 commenced several years ago. The efforts put in by our seniors in making the Indian cricket team a force to be reckoned with, will never be forgotten. They inspired us to follow in their footsteps.
"Our priority in the months to follow will be to prove that we are as capable of staying at the top as we are at reaching it."
Lorgat said he would be happy if the South African and Indian Cricket Boards can work out on having the two Tests in February. "Under the FTP, two countries will have to work out their bilateral series in four or six years time," he said. "It is up to them when to visit each other considering their interest. I would be happy if the proposal for inclusion of the two Tests in February is through. India deserved to be a Test No. 1 side."
He said the ICC expected its member boards to behave responsibly and strike a balance among the three formats of the game. "We would want to see an appropriate balance of Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket," Lorgat said. "We have our guidelines, but the specific scheduling rests with the member boards and we would like them to be responsible enough and strike the right balance."