South Africa have retained the Reliance ICC Test Championship mace and with it have also won a cash award of USD$500,000, following their series win (2-0) over West Indies in Cape Town on January 6th. This series win means that South Africa can’t be removed from the number one ranking till April 1st i.e. the annual cut-off date irrespective of the result of fourth Test between Australia and India at Sydney. No Tests are scheduled after the Sydney match because ICC World Cup 2015 will be played between February 14th- March 29th.
South Africa now has 124 rating points and even if Australia wins the Sydney Test, they’ll finish on 119 rating points at the second position with an award of USD$390,000. If Australia loses this Test, they’ll still finish at second position but will lose some rating points. The third-ranked England and the fourth-ranked Pakistan will collect USD$280,000 and USD$170,000 respectively.
After receiving the prestigious mace, South Africa’s Test skipper Hashim Amla was quoted in saying:
“The 2014/15 Test season was a great advert for the longer format of the game. We saw enthralling battles between the Test-playing nations, which only highlighted and gave greater significance to Test cricket’s place amongst the three formats. From Bridgetown, Bulawayo, Dhaka, Galle, Lords, Sharjah and Melbourne to name a few; Test cricket has been alive across the world.
“We had a sparse Test schedule this season due to the focus on 50-over cricket, however, I am pleased by the progress our team has made with away wins in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and a series win at home to the West Indies.
“The squad has gone through a transition period after the retirements of our legends Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith. Thankfully, we have managed to make an almost seamless transition, which is a testament to the team environment and culture.
“Our focus at the start of the season was to win games for South Africa; to work on finding winning combinations and personally, to find my feet as a new captain, so to finish on top of the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings is almost the cherry on top. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is the obvious challenge for the first few months this year, but we have away tours to Bangladesh and India, then England at home, so I’m looking forward to an exciting year for our Test team.”
Image Courtesy: twitter