While England will be aiming to win US$175,000 for topping the Reliance ICC Test Championship table in the three-Test series which starts on Tuesday, Pakistan will be targeting to narrow the gap with the top four in the Championship table.
Number-one ranked England leads fifth-ranked Pakistan by 26 ratings points and as the rankings system is weighted to reflect this difference, Pakistan could earn significant number of points if it is successful in the series.
If Pakistan wins the series 1-0 or 2-1, it will gain six rating points and rise to 105 points, while England will drop to 120 ratings points, whereas Pakistan will move to 107 ratings points and England will slip to 119 ratings points if Pakistan wins the series 2-0.
In the situation of a 3-0 clean sweep, Pakistan will jump to 108 ratings points, while England will concede seven ratings points and move to 118.
In a sharp contrast, if England wins the series 1-0 or 2-1, both the sides will retain their pre-series ratings points, while England will gain one and three ratings points, respectively for a 2-0 or 3-0 series win.
India is currently occupying second position in the Reliance ICC Test Championship, followed by third-ranked South Africa and fourth-ranked Australia. However, there will be changes in the table when it is updated after the fourth and last Test between Australia and India in Adelaide.
Australia leads the four-Test series 3-0 and if it manages to win it 4-0 by winning the Adelaide Test, then it will join India on 111 ratings points but will stay in fourth position when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point. However, if India pulls one back in Adelaide, then it will finish on 113 ratings points while Australia will end on 108 ratings points.
In the scenario of Australia winning 3-1 and Pakistan winning 3-0, both the sides will be locked on 108 ratings points, but Australia will be ranked above Pakistan by a fraction of a point.
Meanwhile, in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, England’s Alastair Cook and Ian Bell will be eying number-one position, which is currently held by Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka. Cook is in third place, 27 points behind Sangakkara, while Bell trails his team-mate by just one point.
Other batsmen from either side inside the top 20 are Younus Khan (sixth), Jonathan Trott (seventh), Kevin Pietersen (10th), Misbah-ul-Haq (17th) and Matt Prior (19th), while batsmen aiming to break into the top 20 include Azhar Ali (23rd), Andrew Strauss (28th) and Umar Akmal (35th).
England bowlers dominate the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowler with James Anderson sitting in second position, off-spinner Graeme Swann in third spot and fast bowler Stuart Broad in fourth position.
Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is Pakistan’s highest-ranked bowler in 12th position while fast bowler Umar Gul is 16th and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman in 19th spot.