Dubai , December 31 : Australian captain Steve Smith and Indian offie Ravichandran Ashwin have finished the year 2015 as the number one ranked batsman and bowler respectively in the ICC test player rankings. Smith last week won the ICC’s cricketer of the year and Test cricketer of the year award. He scored a unbeaten 134 and 70 in the boxing day test against West Indies that saw him surpassing Joe Root, Kane Williamson, and AB De Villiers.
Smith is the third Australia batsman in the last decade after Ricky Ponting(2005,2006), Michael Clarke(2012) to finish the year as the number one batsman.
Ashwin started the year in the 15th position and took 62 wickets in 9 tests this year including 31 scalps in the recently concluded series against South Africa . He became the first bowler since Bishen Bedi in 1973 to achieve this rare feat. Dale Steyn’s injury too helped Ashwin in achieving this milestone. Steyn bowled only 3.5 overs in England’s second innings. Even though the fast bowler took 4 wickets in the 1st innings in Durban that couldn’t prevent Ashwin to bag the number one spot. Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Anil kumble and Kapil Dev all rose to the number two spot during their careers.
In the past Shane Warne has finished in the top in 2005. Muttiah Muralidaran was at the number one position consecutively from 2006-08. After that Dale Steyn started his domination till 2013 which saw the record broken by his teammate Vernon Philander.
Williamson, root, De Villiers, Smith and Warner all had their chances to finish the year as the number one ranked test batsman as they were separated by 26 points till the final test of the year.Smith also finished the year with 1474 runs to be the leading run scorer of 2015. Smith started the year as number fifth and slowly and steadily moved to the top.