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Australia's men rise to top of Test and T20 cricket rankings | Sport


Australia have reclaimed the world No 1 Test ranking, dethroning India for the first time since 2016 to give players something to celebrate amid a challenging off-field stretch for the sport.

Justin Langer’s team surged to top spot on both the Test and Twenty20 charts with the latest update of the International Cricket Council rankings.

The T20 ascension comes after four consecutive series wins in the shortest format, ensuring the T20 World Cup hosts will likely be favourites should that tournament start in Australia on 18 October as planned.

It is the first time Australia have occupied top spot on the T20 rankings, introduced by the ICC in 2011, and ends Pakistan’s 27-month reign at No 1.

Australia briefly occupied No 1 spot on the ICC’s Test charts in 2014 then 2016, but had slipped to No 5 in the aftermath of the Cape Town cheating scandal and subsequent suspensions for Steve Smith and David Warner.

Langer, who has become a part-time employee for the rest of the financial year as part of Cricket Australia cost-cutting measures, suggested his team still had “lots of work to do to become the team we want to be”.

“But over the last couple of years, not only have we performed well on the field but we have performed well off it,” Langer said. “We have earned some respect back from other teams around the world but also from Australia.

“When we started on this journey … not once did we talk about being No 1 ranked in the world, we wanted to be No 1 in our values and process. That is what I am most proud of.”

The Test rankings are not as important as they once were, given a separate Test championship table will determine who meets in next year’s final at Lord’s. But the numbers will raise expectations of another epic Test series between Australia and India this summer, presuming Covid-19 does not stop it from going ahead.

Langer is adamant Virat Kohli’s team, which lost 2-0 in a recent series against New Zealand, remain the benchmark in Test cricket.

“I said in my first conference as coach we will know we are a great team if we can beat India in India,” Langer said. “That is certainly a great goal for us. We know they are so tough to beat, so only then will we really know we can claim the No 1 spot.

“The last time we played India here they beat us for the first time in [a series in] Australia, so we will be determined to beat them when they come back.”

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