The ICC Test championship [2019-2021] will again come into the picture when Team India will lock horns with South Africa in a three-match Test series. The Test championship will end with the top two teams facing in the grand finale at Lord’s on June 2021. While the Aussies and the English locked horns in the Ashes, India, West Indies & New Zealand, Sri Lanka squared off in a 2-match series each.
At the end of the Windies series, Team India find themselves at the top of the points table, comfortably placed with 120 points thanks to a 2-0 whitewash of the West Indies. However, the Proteas are yet to have their first taste of the two-year championship. After being shocked by a rampaging Sri Lanka at home in Tests, Faf du Plessis and his men had a disastrous World Cup where they lost their first four fixtures and ultimately bowed out of the tournament before the semis.
The likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, and Dale Steyn have hanged their boots and Du Plessis’ young side will be facing one of the best teams ahead of starting their Test championship campaign. The scars of the 2015 tour of India are still there for some of the players when they had gone down 3-0 in a four-match series.
On square-turners in the Indian sub-continent, the South African batsmen were sent into a tizzy by the duo of Ashwin and Jadeja. They were bowled out for 79 in Nagpur; still, the lowest Test total against India, and eventually going on to lose the 4-match series 0-3. It could have been 0-4, had we not lost four days of cricket in Bengaluru.
Add India’s crucial home-record this decade- (32 wins and 4 defeats in 45 home games)- and the task for Faf du Plessis and his men assumes the shape of improbability.
That said, funnier things have happened in cricket. Every time you get ahead of yourself, the game comes to bite you back. So, if South Africa does go and achieve the doubtful, it could be a watershed moment in their cricket history. Apart from becoming the only team to beat India at home twice in this century [won 2-0 in 2000] and gaining championship points, they could go on and leapfrog Virat and his men from the numero-uno spot in the Test rankings.
Even a 1-0 win would make that happen. If India goes on to lose this series by either 0-3,0-2 or even 0-1, they will drop down to the No.2 position. Thus, Team India would be keen on not losing their top spot in the whites.
If South Africa win the forthcoming series in India they will be the #1 Test side in the rankings. A 1-0 result will do.
If India loses the series 0-3, 0-2, 0-1 they will slip down to #2 in the ICC Test rankings!#IndvSA
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) September 26, 2019
In the current ICC rankings, India are comfortably placed at the No.1 position with 115 points, followed by New Zealand [108 points] and South Africa with 104 points. If India does go on to win the series by 2-0, they’ll add three points to their overall tally. The first Test of the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy will start on October 02 in Visakhapatnam.