James Anderson tops ICC bowling rankings at 40; India’s spin trio also make huge gains

Toby Marshall
24 February 2023
James Anderson

James Anderson has become the oldest bowler to take tops spot in the world Test rankings after 87 years, dethroning Australian skipper Pat Cummins. At 40 years and 207 days of age, Anderson broke the record previously held by former Australian spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who was one of the finest spinners of his time.

It was back in 2016 when Anderson first assumed the title of World No. 1 Test bowler, taking it from his own teammate and fast-bowling partner Stuart Broad. He maintained the position for five months before being replaced by South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada. James Anderson has now reclaimed the tops position in the rankings, and is the oldest fast bowler to ever do so.

Anderson has represented England since 2003 and boasts 682 Test wickets in 178 matches, making him only behind legends like Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan on the list of top wicket-takers in Test cricket. Anderson’s impressive performance in the recent match against New Zealand is another testament to his remarkable longevity in the sport. He managed to take seven wickets in the game, which helped bring his overall Test average below 26 for the first time since his debut series in 2003.

However, the lead looks very slim as his contender Ravichandran Ashwin is only two points behind him and has a chance to overtake the English bowler after the 3rd Test against Australia. Anderson’s achievement is remarkable as he continues to defy age with his performances and is still going strong at 40.

Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has dethroned Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan to become the new top-ranked bowler in T20Is. Hasaranga has been in outstanding form in the T20I format and boasts an impressive record with exceptional numbers.

Rashid, by contrast, could only manage four wickets in the recently concluded three-match T20I series against UAE, which resulted in Afghanistan winning 2-1. As a result, Rashid has slipped to second place in the rankings with 694 rating points, while Hasaranga now leads the chart with 695 rating points.

Since making his debut in 2019, Hasaranga has been exceptional in T20I’s, taking 89 wickets in just 55 games at a remarkable economy rate of 6.8. He last played in T20Is against India last month.

The ICC Cricket Rankings for Test match bowlers have seen significant changes with Indian bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja making big gains. Ashwin has climbed to the No. 2 position, just a couple of points behind the new James Anderson, while Jadeja’s impressive performance in the second Test against Australia has seen him storm back into the top 10 of the bowlers’ ranking, progressing seven places to ninth.

Axar Patel, another Indian spinner, has also made gains and is now in the top five for all-rounders. Meanwhile, Australia’s Nathan Lyon has moved up two places to reach 15th after finishing with seven wickets in the match, which his team lost by six wickets.

Author Toby Marshall