Australia head coach Justin Langer has said that their ultimate goal is to beat India in India. File / Reuters
Australia have deposed India in the world Test rankings and Pakistan in the Twenty20 standings, the International cricket Council said on Friday. Just two points separate Australia (116), New Zealand (115) and India (114), who slipped to third position in the Test standings, with cricket across all formats suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
India had held the number one spot since October 2016.
Virat Kohli’s side stay top of the world Test championship between the top nine Test sides, however.
In 2019 India claimed their first ever Test series win in Australia after 71 years of trying, but Australia remained unbeaten in the series that followed.
The return of Steve Smith and David Warner from ball-tampering bans also helped Australia retain the Ashes after levelling the series in England 2-2.
Australia, led by Tim Paine, then blanked Pakistan and New Zealand at home to cap off a successful season cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.
But coach Justin Langer said beating India on their own turf was their ultimate goal.
“I said in my first conference as coach we will know we are a great team if we can beat India in India,” he said in a cricket Australia press release.
“We know they are so tough to beat so only then will we really know we can claim the number one spot.”
“We recognise how fluid these rankings are, but at this time it was certainly nice to put a smile on our faces.”
“We’ve got lots of work to do to get to be the team that we want to be, but hopefully over the last couple of years not only have we performed well on the field, but also off the field.
“Certainly a goal for us has been the World Test Championship ... but ultimately, we have to beat India in India and we’ve got to beat them when they come back (to Australia),” he added.
“You can only judge yourself as being the best if you beat the best and we’ve got some really tough opposition to come,” said Langer.
According to the head coach, the team needs to get better as now others will come gunning for them.
“Getting to No.1 is a great thing, but when you’re No.1, you’re always the hunted,” Langer said. “We’ve been the hunters for a while, now we’re the hunted and we need to get better and better,” he added.
India are scheduled to tour Down Under later this year. Australia are not slated to play a series in India until 2022. The annual update of the rankings eliminates results from the 2016-17 season when India won 12 and lost just one Test.
The system also gives more weight to matches played since May 2019 than those of the previous two years. South Africa suffered the biggest fall of eight points, which sees them drop below Sri Lanka to sixth place. England are fourth.
In the one-day rankings, world champions England consolidated their number one position, followed by India and New Zealand.
In the T20 chart Australia ended Pakistan’s 27-month stay at the top to reach the summit for the first time since rankings in the shortest format were introduced in 2011.
Pakistan are now in fourth position while England jumped to second and India to the third spot.
Australia are due to host the T20 World Cup in October if it is not delayed by the pandemic.