Kagiso Rabada, aged just 22 and having played just 24 Tests, has risen to No 1 in the ICC Test rankings following the first Test against India at Newlands.
He moved ahead of England’s Jimmy Anderson by one point, thanks to his return of 3-34 and 2-41 against a star-studded India batting lineup.
For this effort, he collected five points, while Anderson, who had entered the Sydney Test as the No 1-ranked bowler, dropped by the same number of points following the last Ashes Test. This 10-point swing means the South African has moved ahead of the Englishman by one point after nine points had separated the two fast bowlers leading into the two Tests.
The hero of the Newlands Test, Vernon Philander, also made an impressive gain. For his match figures of 9-75, which also earned him the Man of the Match award, the 32-year-old has earned 67 points, which, in turn, has lifted him from 12th to sixth position.
He now trails Australia’s sixth-ranked Josh Hazlewood by eight points and has an opportunity to break into the top-five following the Centurion Test, which begins on Saturday, 13 January.
A delighted Rabada, who made his debut in November 2017 against India, and who has taken 110 Test wickets at 21.96, said: ‘It’s special to be ranked as the No 1 Test bowler in the world. It is a surreal feeling. It’s what you dream of achieving when you start playing the game.
‘Cricket is ultimately a team sport and I’m thankful for the support from my teammates. It’s a great start to the year personally and for us as a team; hopefully we can continue putting in winning performances.’
Rabada is the seventh South Africa bowler to top the ICC Test Bowling Rankings after Aubrey Faulkner, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
On the batting front, the batting mainstay of the Newlands Test, AB de Villiers, has risen five places to 13th with a slot in the top-10 firmly within his sights.
South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar have slipped three places apiece to finish in 10th and 16th positions respectively.
South Africa opener Aiden Markram and India all-rounder Hardik Pandya are the other big movers from the Newlands Test. Markram has moved up six places to 48th, while Pandya is now ranked 49th after rocketing 24 places.
1 ( – ) Steve Smith (Australia) 947 pts, ave: 63.75
2 (+2) Joe Root (England) 881 pts, ave: 53.28
3 (-1) Virat Kohli (India) 880 pts, ave: 53.01
4 ( – ) Kane Williamson (NZ) 855 pts, ave: 50.62
5 (-2) Cheteshwar Pujara (India) 848 pts, ave: 52.07
6 ( – ) David Warner (Australia) 827 pts, ave: 48.77
7 (+2) Azhar Ali (Pakistan) 755 pts, ave: 46.62
8 (+2) Dinesh Chandimal (SL) 743 pts, ave: 43.94
9 (-1) Alastair Cook (England) 742 pts, ave: 46.35
10 (-3) Hashim Amla (SA) 740 pts, ave: 49.08
13 (+5) AB de Villiers (SA) 715 pts, ave 50.47
14 ( – ) Faf du Plessis (SA) 710 pts, ave 46.04
15 ( – ) Quinton de Kock (SA) 698 pts, ave 42.86
16 (-3) Dean Elgar (SA) 697 pts, ave 41.21
1 (+1) Kagiso Rabada (SA) 888 pts, ave: 21.96
2 (-1) James Anderson (England) 887 pts, ave: 27.40
3 ( – ) Ravindra Jadeja (India) 861 pts, ave: 23.73
4 ( – ) Ravichandran Ashwin (India) 830 pts, ave: 25.35
5 ( – ) Josh Hazlewood (Australia) 814 pts, ave: 25.77
6 (+6) Vernon Philander (SA) 806 pts, ave: 21.68
7 (-1) Rangana Herath (SL) 799 pts, ave: 28.04
8 (-1) Neil Wagner (NZ) 784 pts, ave: 27.87
9= ( – ) Nathan Lyon (Australia) 769 pts, ave: 31.64
9= (-1) Mitchell Starc (Australia) 769 pts, ave: 27.73
11 (-1) Morne Morkel (SA) 754 pts, ave: 28.39
12 (-1) Dale Steyn (SA) 737 pts, ave: 22.32
17 (-1) Keshav Maharaj (SA) 671 pts, ave: 25.60