England will have a chance to the win the US$175,000 jackpot for topping the Reliance ICC Test Championship table when it goes head to head with Pakistan in a three-Test series starting in Dubai on Tuesday.
The award is presented on an annual basis to the side which finishes the Reliance ICC Test Championship table on the 1 April cut-off date.
England is currently on 125 ratings points and is ahead of its closest rivals, India and South Africa, by seven and eight ratings points, respectively.
With India all set to drop in the Championship table, which will be updated after the Adelaide Test, South Africa can rise to as high as 119 ratings points should it be successful in its series against New Zealand in New Zealand from 7-27 March.
However, England can put itself beyond South Africa’s reach by either winning a Test in the forthcoming series in the UAE or if it loses the series to Pakistan by a one Test margin.
In case of a 1-0 or 2-1 series loss, England will finish on 120 ratings points, one ahead of South Africa (assuming it wins 3-0 against New Zealand), while England’s 1-0 or 2-1 series win will mean it will retain its pre-series rating of 125 points.
Nevertheless, England will give South Africa a window of opportunity to top the table if it loses to Pakistan by 2-0 or more.
In the scenario of England losing 2-0 and South Africa winning 3-0, both the sides will be locked on 119 ratings points, but South Africa will be ranked above England by one tenth of a decimal point. And in the situation of England losing 3-0 and South Africa winning 3-0, then England will drop to 118 ratings points, while South Africa will finish on top at 119 ratings points.
The side that finishes second in the Reliance ICC Test Championship table on the 1 April cut-off date will receive US$75,000.