SKIPPER Tatenda Taibu remains Zimbabwe’s best batsmen after moving one place up to number 48 in the latest LG ICC Test rankings that saw South Africa’s Jacques Kallis toppling
West Indian veteran Brian Lara from the pinnacle.
Zimbabwe, who remain stuck on number nine above only Bangladesh in the Test championship, have 10 Test batsmen ranked in the top 100.
In the latest rankings released this week after the Antigua Test between West Indies and South Africa, Taibu is placed on 48 with 486 points and an average of 28,86 following his outstanding performance against Bangladesh in January.
In contrast the best batsmen in the world, Kallis, has 886 points and an average of 56,87 after smashing a century in South Africa’s drawn Test against the West Indies.
The second-best Zimbabwean batsman is Stuart Carlisle who is ranked number 56 with 425 points, while Dion Ebrahim is just a place below on 422 points.
Rebel batsman Grant Flower, who might not turn out for Zimbabwe again after committing himself to county cricket in England under the Kolpak ruling, dropped one place to number 66.
Closely following Flower is former captain Heath Streak, whose 392 points have seem him retaining the number 68 spot.
Hamilton Masakadza, who became the youngest centurion on Test debut against the West Indies in 2001, dropped one place to 78. All-rounder Andy Blignaut slid two places down to number 81 where he is tied with England’s Ashley Giles.
Trevor Gripper is also tied at 86 with Bangladesh’s Mohammad Rafiq, while Mark Vermeulen and Travis Friend breath neck to neck on 93 and 94 respectively.
Streak however remains Zimbabwe’s best Test bowler at number 17, although his 595 points are still a far cry from the 800-point elite mark.
Australia’s Glen McGrath is still the best Test bowler ahead of Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and Shaun Pollock of South Africa.
Zimbabwe also have 10 cricketers among the best 100 Test bowlers.
Top spinner Raymond Price closely follows Streak at number 21 after moving a rung up despite being inactive after turning his back to national duty last April.
Blignaut is Zimbabwe’s fourth-best bowler on number 40, while young spinner Graeme Cremer is ranked 68. Seamer Douglas Hondo follows closely on number 69.
Promising fast bowler Tinashe Panyangara, voted Zimbabwe’s 2004 junior sportsperson of the year, is the country’s seventh-best Test bowler on number 84.
Sean Ervine, who has also not accepted a new contract from Zimbabwe Cricket, is ranked number 87, four places above Flower.
Young all-rounder Elton Chigumbura, ranked number 97, is the other Zimbabwean in the top 100.
Most of the Zimbabwean cricketers have a chance to improve on their rankings when they play four Test matches against New Zealand and India mid-year.
Meanwhile, Carlisle marks his return to national duty when he shepherds Zimbabwe “A” onto the field against Pakistan “A” in a four-day match that begins at the CFX Academy in Harare this morning.
Carlisle, who was among 15 white cricketers who walked out on national duty last year, was this week named captain of both squads to face the Pakistanis in two four-day games and three one-dayers.
The former senior national team captain will look to Stuart Matsikenyeri, Brendan Taylor, Mark Vermeulen and Cremer to form the nucleus of the Zimbabwe “A” team.