Following on from the drawn series in Bangladesh, Alastair Cook’s England take on world number-one ranked Test team India in a five-Test series starting in Rajkot on Wednesday.

The top four of the Test match team rankings are separated by just 10 points, with India on 115 points and England in fourth place on 105. And, as all teams prepare to flex their muscles in the purest format of the game, changes in the world ranking positions are on the cards depending on how the upcoming series pan out.

The incentive for the England side is high. A 3-2 series win will put Alastair Cook’s men on 108 points, while a 4-1 series win will mean it will move ahead of India to 110 points.

Virat Kohli’s India will be aiming to at least draw the series which, will seal its number-one ranking at the end of the year, irrespective of the outcome of the other series underway between Australia and South Africa and New Zealand and Pakistan series.

In this scenario, India will finish on 113 points and will, thus, be untouchable even if Australia bounce back to win the remaining two Tests against South Africa, or Pakistan wins both the Tests against New Zealand.

A 3-2 series win will lift India to 116 points, a 4-1 series win will put it on 119 points and it will jump to 122 points in case of a 5-0 win.

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, England’s Joe Root and India’s Ajinkya Rahane will start the series as their sides’ highest-ranked batsmen. Root is third, just seven points behind second-ranked Kane Williamson of New Zealand, while Rahane is fifth, nine points behind Root.

Other batsmen inside the top 20 and aiming for upward movement include Alastair Cook (11th), Cheteshwar Pujara (13th), Kohli and Jonny Bairstow (joint-15th), while notable batsmen outside the top 20 are Murali Vijay (25th), Moeen Ali (32nd) and Ben Stokes (40th).

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin leads the field by a distance. The off-spinner is the only bowler touching the 900-point mark, which, in ranking terms, is considered as outstanding.

The Rajkot Test will also be a big occasion for Stuart Broad, who is set to become England’s 14th player to complete a century of Tests. In the absence of James Anderson, Broad will be his side’s highest-ranked bowler in fifth position, trailing his England team-mate James Anderson by 32 points.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is the other India bowler to feature inside the top 20 in seventh position (16 points behind Broad), while England’s Chris Woakes is in 19th position.

Bowlers aiming to break into the top 20 include Stokes (21st), Ishant Sharma (23rd), Mohammed Shami (26th) and Steven Finn (29th).

Ashwin is also enjoying number-one position in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test All-rounders. He is 133 points clear of Moeen Ali, who is ranked third.

India v England Test Series

  1. 9-13 Nov – 1st Test, Rajkot
  2. 17-21 Nov – 2nd Test, Visakhapatnam
  3. 26-30 Nov – 3rd Test, Chandigarh
  4. 8-12 Dec – 4th Test, Mumbai
  5. 16-20 Dec – 5th Test, Chennai

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