After bowling outstandingly well throughout the year, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ended the year 2015 as the top ranked Test bowler in ICC rankings, released on Thursday.
This makes the Chennai spinner first India bowler since Bishen Singh Bedi in 1973 to achieve the feat of finishing the year on top.
Mainstay of the Indian bowling line-up, Ashwin took 62 wickets in nine Tests this year, including 31 scalps in the four matches against South Africa in the Freedom series.
Ashwin recently achieved the number-one spot for the first time in his career, replacing injured South African Dale Steyn. The Proteas fast bowler could only bowled 3.5 overs in England’s second innings in the Durban Test.
In fact, its a double delight for the 29-year-old Indian tweaker, who also ended the year as top-ranked Test all-rounder.
Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja finished the year at sixth position.
Ashwin, in contrast, has achieved the number-one spot for first time in his career after injury prevented Dale Steyn from bowling more than 3.5 overs in England’s second innings. Even though the fast bowler bagged four wickets in the first innings, these were not enough for him to end the year as the number-one ranked bowler for the sixth time since 2009.
Steyn had started the Durban Test leading Ashwin by four points and now trails the India off-spinner by the same margin.
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, Williamson, Root, de Villiers, Smith and David Warner had a chance to finish the year as the number-one ranked Test batsman after they were separated by 26 points in the lead up to the final Tests of the year.
While Williamson was busy in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, Root scored 24 and 73, de Villiers made 49 and 37 and Warner chipped in with 23 and 17.
Smith, who was also named in the ICC Test and ODI Teams of the Year, is the third Australia batsman in the last decade after Ricky Ponting (2005 and 2006) and Michael Clarke (2012) to finish the year as the number-one ranked batsman. Other batsmen since 2005 to finish the year as the top batsman are Kumar Sangakkara (2007, 2010 and 2011), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Gautam Gambhir (2009) and de Villiers (2013 and 2014).
Smith also finished 2015 as the leading run-scorer with 1,474 runs. This performance is clearly reflected in his ranking; he started the year in fifth position, achieved the number-one position for the first time after the Kingston Test against the West Indies in June, before finishing the year on top of the tree after hovering inside the top five in the last quarter of the year.