Contact Us
Top banner desktop

The Top 5 Batsmen Who Held the Top Spot in ICC Ranking For the Longest

We look at the top 5 batsmen who held the top spot in ICC ranking for the longest. Reaching the number 1 ranking in test matches and becoming the best in the world means reaching the pinnacle of batting.

Ritik Goel
Last updated: 31.05.2020
The Top 5 Batsmen Who Held the Top Spot in ICC Ranking For the Longest | Sports Social Blog

Get 100% Deposit Bonus on Bilbet

Exclusive bonuses and freebets available in IPL 2024. Turn your Cricket Knowledge into Money!

It is widely believed that test cricket is the real test of a batsman’s skill, character, passion, and ability. Reaching the number 1 ranking in test matches and becoming the best in the world means reaching the pinnacle of batting. 

In this article, we look at the top 5 batsmen who held the top spot in ICC ranking for the longest.

  1. Sachin Tendulkar (1994, 1998-2000):

Sachin Tendulkar has managed to break almost every batting record in cricket over a period of 24 years in international cricket and in a purely statistical sense, he is regarded as the best batsman to have played the game because no player comes even close to his tally of international runs.

The Mumbaikar, who was the idol of most Indian players growing up, amassed 15,921 runs in 200 Tests at an average of 53.78 which includes 51 centuries and 68 half-centuries. While in the 2010s, he got the support of Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman, etc. but throughout the nineties, he was India’s one-man army in test cricket and so he carried the hopes of millions of fans on his shoulders. He could stand tall on the quickest pitch in the world, the WACA, and at the same time, could wreak havoc on someone like Shane Warne on a rank-turner in India. His remarkable consistency and adaptability to situations were evident in his test-match rankings as he first became the top-ranked batsman in 1994. Then in 1998, which was the dream year for him, he again reached the top spot. In 1998, he scored over 2000 international runs, most in a calendar year. He continued to hold the top spot until 2000.

  1. Ricky Ponting (2003, 2005-2007):

Australia had an amazing two decades in the 1990s and 2010s in which they made every team around the world bite the dust. Ricky Ponting took over from Steve Waugh and carried this legacy forward. He became the number 1 test batsman in 2003 for the first time.

He was at the peak of his prowess in 2005. It was evident in a couple of centuries in the 2005 Ashes under really tough circumstances. Those innings, as Ponting still believes are his best ever. And thus, he became the top-ranked test batsman in 2005. He was a nightmare for medium-paced bowlers who tried to ball short at him. In 168 Tests, he made 13,378 runs at an amazing average of 51.85 and smashed 41 centuries in the process. He lost his number-one position in 2007 owing to a dip in form.

  1. Kumar Sangakarra (2007, 2010-2012):

Kumar Sangakkara was Sri Lanka’s most prolific run-scorer. In 134 Tests, the legendary Sri Lankan batsman accumulated 12,400 runs at an astounding average of 57.40. This average is one of the highest ever. 

Sanga’s rise to the top started in  2007 as he reached the top of the ICC Test rankings for the first time. Then in 2010, he regained his top place and stayed there for nearly until the end of 2012 before Michael Clarke surpassed him. In those three years, his run-scoring ability was unmatched and he dominated every country.

Sanga has also scored 11 double centuries in Test cricket which is second best to legendary Sir Don Bradman’s tally of 12 double centuries.

  1. AB De Villiers (2013-2015):

Given how attacking, aggressive, and flamboyant De Villiers was, the way he mastered test cricket was exemplary. He had a very unique ability as he could play according to the situations perfectly. He once played over 150 dot balls to save a Test against India on a rank-turner in Nagpur and in complete contrast, scored a quickfire hundred in Joburg to almost chase down 400 on the fifth day.

In 114 Test matches, De Villiers amassed 8,765 runs at a magnificent average of 50.66 and scored 22 centuries.

In 2013, De Villiers reached the top position for the first time and continued the dominance at the top spot in ICC Test rankings for almost 2.5 years. In fact, he donned the gloves during that time on occasions which made his performances even more remarkable.

  1. Steve Smith (2015-2018, 2019):

They call him the next Don Bradman. Even comparison to Bradman means you are something special and Steve Smith is constantly compared to him. He is arguably the best test batsman of this generation. He started out as a leg-spinner and batted at number 8 and therefore, his rise to the top is sensational. Smith’s Test average is 64.84 –  only the third-best after Bradman.

De Villiers was replaced by Smith at the top of ICC rankings in 2015. He dominated this ranking for over 3 years. That sort of consistency, mental strength, and match-winning ability was unparalleled. Even after his one-year ban, he did not lose his number 1 spot for a long period but Kohli eventually replaced him. However, he made an astounding comeback in the 2019 Ashes, wherein in just seven innings, he scored 774 runs at a mind-boggling average of 110.57.

Owing to his sensational come-back, he regained his number 1 ranking in 2019.

Top banner desktop

Chase Your Sport

Stay up-to-date on the latest sports news, stats, expert analysis and trends, including cricket, football, wrestling, tennis, basketball, Formula One and more. Find previews, schedules, results of upcoming events, and fantasy tips on Chase Your Sport.