Yesterday, in one of the more interesting days of test cricket in a very long time, South Africa defeated England at Lord’s to end the hosts year long reign as the number one test side in the world.
It is South Africa’s turn at the top of the table now, and we will see what they can do with it.
England, for instance, became number one after white washing India at home last summer. After which they promptly collapsed. Losing to Pakistan, drawing with Sri Lanka, beating West Indies (though hardly convincingly), and losing to South Africa.
And so what’s next for the saffers?
Australia in November for three tests, then back home to host New Zealand for two and Pakistan for three. Then, in July of 2013, they head to Sri Lanka for three.
And so in the next year the number one test side will play 11 tests against four different sides. The total ICC test points for those four sides (current totals): 11,604.
As a comparison, England, in their year as number one, also played 11 test matches against four different sides. The total ICC test points for those fours sides (current totals): 11,493.
In other words, South Africa’s next 12 months are going to be just as difficult as England’s previous 12, and it will be quite interesting to see how they handle the pressure of being number one.
The first series, against Australia, is one that I am already looking forward to. Now I am no expert on the ICC points system, but as near as I can tell, if India whitewashes England this fall (entirely possible), then Australia can become number one with a three test white wash of South Africa. (Please correct me if I am wrong).
How crazy would that be? Not two years removed from the horror that was the 2010-11 Ashes Series, Australia could once again be the number one test side.
Like I said, I am looking forward to it already. I really do love the Australia cricketing summer. Not because I like Australian cricket. Far from it, really. In fact, I find most Australian cricketers rather disagreeable. Instead I love the Australian summer because I have mentioned before, the matches correspond so well to my schedule here in the States. The majority of the matches are on during prime time evening hours. I watch more cricket during the Australian summer than during any other time of the year.
The South African series consists of three tests (ugh), Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. All three should make for fantastic viewing.
That’s the thing about cricket: always something to look forward to.