Proteas needs victory to keep ICC ranking

Published: Thursday, December 11, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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If South Africa fails to win its four Test home series against West Indies it could drop out of the top two in the ICC Test Championship for the first time since the official table was launched in May 2001.

A draw for South Africa in the series that starts in Johannesburg this Friday could allow New Zealand to climb into second spot, while a series defeat would open the door for England as well.

South Africa's current rating is 111 and such is the gap in the official standings to West Indies (83) that it will have to win the series by two clear Tests (3-1 or 2-0) to maintain this rating.

A series defeat by one match for South Africa (2-1 or 1-0) would see its rating fall to 106. If New Zealand wins 2-0 at home against Pakistan it will move up to 109 while England can improve its rating to 107 if it wins its final two Tests in Sri Lanka.

West Indies, currently eighth with a rating of 83, will be looking to close the gap on the top seven sides. Even a 1-0 series defeat will improve its rating but it will need to win the series handsomely to overtake its nearest rival Sri Lanka.

Ranjan Madugalle from the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Referees will officiate on the series. Darrell Hair and Simon Taufel from the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires will stand in the first two Tests. The first Test will be Hair's 50th Test Match in the middle.

Srinivas Venkataraghavan will stand with Daryl Harper in the third Test while David Shepherd will join Venkat in the final Test.

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