• Amla and Faf inch up Test rankings

    South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis have each gained a position, in the latest International Cricket Council’s rankings for Test batsmen released on Monday.

    Amla has climbed from 14th to 13 – and du Plessis 16th to 15th.

    Openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram have remained ninth and 10th, respectively.

    Among the bowlers, second-placed Kagiso Rabada is 14 points adrift of table-topping Englishman James Anderson, who starred in this month’s series victory over India in the United Kingdom. Rabada was within one point of Anderson earlier this year.

    Fellow Protea stars Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj are placed fourth and 1th, respectively.

    Maharaj clinched a record-breaking nine-wicket innings haul against the Sri Lankans in late July’s series decider. The left-armer took a dozen wickets in the match – and 16 for the series.

    Philander is still second only to Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan in the rankings for all-rounders.

    Amla, du Plessis, Elgar, Markram, Rabada, Philander and Maharaj will likely feature in the Test series against Pakistan later this year.

    South Africa will play three Tests in Centurion, Cape Town and Johannesburg between 26 December 2018 and 15 January 2019. Five ODIs will follow.

    Speculation over the future of the veteran Amla’s berth in the first-choice Test XI has been rife recently.

    The stalwart right-hander averages more than 47 in the longest format of the international game, but hasn’t scored a century against a top-tier nation since January 2017, which has influenced cricket betting bookmarkers in South Africa.

    A team eager to forge ahead in the absence of the talented AB de Villiers, who retired from international competition earlier this year, requires the experienced Amla to consistently deliver significant runs.

    De Villiers, meanwhile, will reportedly play in next year’s Pakistan Super League.

    He has relished contracts with the Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League, but has never been part of the Pakistan Super League.

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    Jonhenry Wilson