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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Harbhajan enjoys highest ranking in five years

Harbhajan enjoys highest ranking in five years

November 11, 2008 17:35 IST

Harbhajan Singh gained two places in the latest Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers and is now in seventh position, the highest ranking the off-spinner has enjoyed since 2003.

The 28-year-old took seven wickets in the fourth Test against Australia at Nagpur and, as a result, moved past Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka and Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar, but is still way behind the next highest-placed Ryan Sidebottom of England and also Australia's Brett Lee, who had a disappointing series by his standards, taking eight wickets at an average of 61.62.

That compares to Harbhajan's 15 wickets at 28.86. Harbhajan's batting was also impressive in the series and his 18 not out and 52 at Nagpur saw him gain six places to 87th in the rankings for Test batsmen and two places to 11th in the all-rounders' list.

Meanwhile, the news is not so good for Zaheer Khan, who lost three places following the Nagpur Test and now sits in 18th position. The left-arm pacer took just one wicket for 125 runs in the fourth Test as his new-ball partner Ishant Sharma continued to shine at the other end.

Sharma is up six places to 30th after taking another four wickets in the match and being named as the player of the series. It is the first time the 20-year-old has broken into the top 30 during his short career.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra continued his rise in the bowling rankings, gaining six places to 43, a remarkable showing considering he has played just three Tests.

Speaking of spinners, Jason Krejza of Australia shot straight into the bowling rankings in 49th position after taking 12 wickets on debut at Nagpur. Only two bowlers -- Bob Massie (16-137) for Australia against England at Lord's in 1972 and Narendra Hirwani (16-136) for India in 1988 against the West Indies, at what was then called Madras -- have taken more wickets on debut than the 25-year-old New South Welshman.

Mind you, only one bowler in history -- Tommy Scott of the West Indies (9-374 against England at his home ground of Sabina Park, Jamaica in 1930) -- conceded more runs in a match than the 358 Krejza gave at Nagpur.

Krejza's team-mate Mitchell Johnson dropped three places to 31st position, meaning Australia now has only two bowlers in the top 30 -- Lee and third-placed Stuart Clark -- the first time for more than 20 years that has happened.

The bowling rankings continue to be headed by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, followed by South Africa's Dale Steyn in second place and Clark.

In the batting rankings Sachin Tendulkar continued his current patch of good form, registering his 40th Test century at that match in Nagpur. The Little Master gained three places in the process and now sits in 16th position just behind Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke, who loses one place to 15th, and England's Alastair Cook, who is in the England squad to face India in two Tests next month.

Virender Sehwag moved up two places to 11th after scoring 66 and 92 in the match and is now very close behind Jacques Kallis of South Africa (in 10th place) and Matthew Hayden of Australia (9th).

The West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul is still top of the batting list followed very closely by Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka in second place.