Cook could create history in Nagpur

Nagpur, Dec 12 (IANS) Alastair Cook is in line to become the first England batsman to top the ICC Test Player Rankings since 2003, when his side takes on India in the fourth and last cricket Test starting here Thursday.

Captain Cook is currently ranked fourth on the table with 874 points, just five behind number-one ranked Shivnarine Chanderpaul. And although Michael Clarke is just one rating point behind Chanderpaul, Cook will have the first crack at the No.1 ranking as his Test finishes a day before the Australia-Sri Lanka Test, which begins in Hobart Friday.

With Cook having already scored 548 runs at a healthy average of 109.6 in the series so far, there is a strong possibility of him achieving the coveted No.1 position for the first time in his career.

The last England batsman to top the batting table was England captain Michael Vaughan, who surged to the top at the conclusion of the fifth and last Ashes Test in Sydney Jan 6, 2003. In that match, Vaughan scored zero and 183 as England won by 225 runs. Vaughan finished with 633 runs, including three hundreds in that Ashes series and was voted player of the series.

The other England batsmen to top the batting table are Graham Gooch in June 1994 and David Gower in February 1986.

At the age of 40, Gooch became the oldest to hold the top spot on the batting charts since Jack Hobbs in 1928. The oldest to be the No.1 ranked batsman ever was W.G. Grace in 1897 at the age of 49.

Cook has an opportunity to create history not just with his batting but also by hoping to achieve England's first Test series win in India since 1984-85. England currently leads the four-match series 2-1.

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