Virat Kohli's India can regain No 1 Test ranking during England series

Five-match encounter begins in Nottingham on Wednesday

India lost the World Test Championship final to New Zealand in Southampton in June, marking yet another failed attempt in a world title match.

But the next cycle is already under way and for Virat Kohli's team, there is extra motivation to put their best foot forward in the five-Test series against England which begins in Nottingham on Wednesday.

New Zealand climbed to the top of the Test rankings after their series win in England earlier in June, and before the one-off final against India. They have accumulated 126 points, nine more than second-placed India and 18 more than England, who are third.

However, the five-Test series between Kohli's India and Joe Root's hosts can change the table markedly. If India manage to sweep the series 5-0, which will be unprecedented, then they will rise to the top of the rankings table with 127 points - according to the ICC's team rankings predictor. And England will then slip to fourth in the table. Any other result and New Zealand's hold will continue.

England, on the other hand, can move to second in the Test table if they beat India by a margin of 2-0 or better.

The task will be a monumental one for India, given that they lost the last three series in England 4-1, 3-1 and 4-0.

And even though England will be without star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has taken an indefinite break from cricket to focus on his mental health, the hosts have more than enough quality in their team to avoid a whitewash. Veteran quicks James Anderson and Stuart Broad alone should be able to ensure that.

Moreover, Indian Test team players have been out of top-level action for nearly two months, which means there is bound to be some rust when the Tests begin. Also, the visitors have had some personnel issues with batsman Shubman Gill, all-rounder Washington Sundar, and fast bowler Avesh Khan ruled out of the series.

Updated: August 1st 2021, 1:04 PM