While they had to face heartbreak in the final of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, New Zealand now have a chance to go top of the ICC Test rankings for the first time in history as they get ready to square-off against Sri Lanka in a two-match series.
The No2 ranked Black Caps can secure the top ranking in the format should they beat the hosts 2-0 in the upcoming series but they will also need Windies to avert a series clean sweep by India at the same time.
If the Kiwis are able to win both upcoming Tests and top-ranked India fail to win even one of their two clashes against West Indies, then it will be Kane Williamson and his men who will ascend to the top of the ranking.
“If that happens that would be great,” New Zealand skipper Williamson was quoted as saying by AFP on the eve of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle.
“But I guess there’s a bigger picture. The thing with rankings is that they just fluctuate throughout a season. For us, we just want to be focusing on the cricket and give ourselves the best chance of success.”
With the inaugural World Test Championship getting underway earlier this month, all teams will have their eyes on making the final which takes place at Lord’s after the completion of a two-year cycle.
For Williamson, the prospect of making the Lord’s final of the Test Championship is more enticing than securing the No1 ranking in the format.
“I think it’s a welcome addition to the Test format, bringing that context into every Test match you play,” the Kiwi stated.
“No matter what team you play at any level it’s very, very competitive.
“But now there’s that added carrot where, in two years’ time, everyone’s vying for a spot in that championship final which would be a really exciting thing to be a part of.”
The first Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand gets underway at Galle on Wednesday. Meanwhile, West Indies and India will lock horns in a two-Test series which will begin on August 22 at Antigua.
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