Of course, all good things must come to an end, and in 2009 South Africa saw their meteoric rise in the sport reach new heights as they overtook the all-conquering Australia to take the crown as Test Cricket’s number one team. However, their time at the top was short-lived, lasting a mere three months.
Since then, the number one spot has swung back and forth between multiple countries, with India and England also enjoying brief spells at the top of the rankings in and around more success for both Australia and South Africa.
Today, the crown is once again with Australia after they worked their way back to the top in February for the first time since 2014, but their performances of late have resulted in a power struggle between themselves, India, England, and Pakistan.
Their recent series loss to lower-ranked Sri Lanka, who were number seven in the world at the time, dealt a huge blow to their rating, given that the ICC rankings methodology gives out a much higher penalty against teams that lose to a lower-rated opponent than it would if the loss were to a team with a higher ranking.
The form is the key to holding on to the top spot once it has been secured, and of the four teams, it is fair to say that Australia is struggling in that department.
England, on the other hand, has been on an impressive run of late. In particular, the third Test of their recent series with Pakistan was a fascinating five-day battle for supremacy, with many describing England’s performances as near perfect.
What left England fans buoyant was the superb team effort that prevailed under immense pressure, as they snatched a win when a draw seemed most likely. Success for the England team always sees a spike in interest nationwide, which can only be good for the future of the game, as the young and inspired take to the internet to buy cricket batting gloves online, ready to write their own stories in cricket.
An Exciting Future
It is clear that the sport is growing ever more competitive, with no country truly able to enforce their dominance above the rest in the same way that Australia did for those famous six years. Since then, only South Africa has been able to leave their mark on the history books in any meaningful way, managing 42 months at the top since 2009.
Naturally, the lack of a leading force within cricket promises an exciting future for fans of the game, though with some of the quality on show in recent months, it would also be no surprise to see someone break the mold and retain the number one spot for a little longer than the norm.
Who that will remain to be seen.