This page details the recent Press Releases by date.
Opportunity for Williamson and Root to break into the top five
England and New Zealand will face off in a two-Test series at Lord's on Thursday with one eye on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings.
Fifth-ranked England trails third-ranked New Zealand by two points and both sides will retain their pre-series rankings if the series ends in a stalemate. However, there will be changes in the middle of the table if either side wins the series.
If New Zealand comes out on top, then it will retain its third position but England will drop to seventh. In contrast, if England wins the series, then it will rise to third position while New Zealand will slip to seventh spot.
This is due to the fact that four sides are bunched together in the middle of the table with just three points separating New Zealand from seventh-ranked Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, New Zealand's Kane Williamson and England's Joe Root will be aiming to break into the top five.
Williamson is currently sitting in sixth spot, two points behind Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, while Root is eighth, another 17 points behind.
Other batsmen from either side aiming for upward movements include Ross Taylor (13th), Brendon McCullum (15th), Gary Ballance (20th), Alastair Cook (24th), Ian Bell (31st), BJ Watling (40th) and Tom Latham (51st).
Mitchell Johnson's remarkable return to form has seen him climb nearly 200 points and ten places since the start of the Ashes. The series against South Africa could see him climb back into the world top 5 for the first time in four years.
Johnson is up against a strong South African batting line-up, led by AB de Villiers who is currently top of the batting at a career best 912 points.
The series is a battle of the fast bowling titans, featuring five of the world's top ten fast bowlers. Vernon Philander nipped ahead of Dale Steyn for the first time during the series between South Africa and India. In third place and also at a career high is Ryan Harris, with Peter Siddle fifth.
South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has moved within striking distance of claiming the number-one ranking on the Reliance ICC Test Player Rankings for batsmen for the first time in his career.
Amla has moved up a place to second in the latest rankings that were released on Tuesday, a day after South Africa's innings and 193 runs win over New Zealand at Port Elizabeth in the second and final Test. This victory gave South Africa a 2-0 series win over New Zealand.
Amla stroked 110 in the Port Elizabeth Test and earned eight rating points which, in turn, has helped him achieve a career-best 886 ratings points.
Amla is now just one rating point behind Australia captain Michael Clarke and will have a shot at the coveted position when he takes on Pakistan in the first Test of the three-match series in Johannesburg on 1 February. In contrast, Clarke only returns to the Test arena on 22 February when Australia faces India in the first Test of the four-match series in Chennai.
The two other centurions of the Port Elizabeth Test, Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar, have also moved up in the latest batting rankings. Du Plessis is now 38th (up by five) and Dean Elgar is now at 96th (up by 49).
New Zealand's Dean Brownlie in 43rd (up by three) and BJ Watling in 56th (up by 22) are the others batsmen to make notable upward movements.
The bowlers' table is still headed by Dale Steyn, who has further consolidated his lead at the top after spells of five for 17 and three for 48 that also fetched him the Player of the Match award in the second Test.
Steyn has opened up 45 ratings points gap with team-mate and second-ranked Vernon Philander, who lost one per cent of his ratings point for missing the second Test due to injury.
Steyn is now just five ratings points away from returning to the magical 900-point mark, and eight ratings points away from achieving a career-best rating. In ranking terms, the 900-point mark is the benchmark for the top bowlers.
The other bowlers to make upward movements include New Zealand's fast bowler Doug Bracewell in 37th (up by one) and South Africa duo of Robin Peterson in 50th (up by 15) and Rory Kleinveldt in 74th (up by 17).
Reliance ICC Test Championship Table
Meanwhile, South Africa has further consolidated its lead at the top of Reliance ICC Test Championship Table.
A 2-0 series win over New Zealand has earned South Africa one ratings point and has lifted it to 124 ratings points, while opening a six-point lead against second-ranked England.
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Championship Table, please click here. The Test Championship table is updated after every series, unlike the ODI or T20I Championship tables, which are updated after every match.
South Africa now has three more Tests before the 1 April cut-off date for the awarding of the ICC Test Championship mace and prize money for the top-ranked Test team. These three Tests are against Pakistan, and will be played next month in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Centurion. The Proteas will need to win the series to be guaranteed number-one spot at the cut-off date for the first time, irrespective of how the three other series pan out. India hosts Australia for a four-match series from 22 February, New Zealand plays the first of a three-match series against England on 6 March in Dunedin, and West Indies plays Zimbabwe in the first of a two-match series on 16 March.
This would mean South Africa will get richer by US$450,000 and will also retain the prestigious Reliance ICC Test Championship mace.
A total of US $3.8m in prize money will be shared among the top four sides on 1 April 2013, 2014 and 2015, after the ICC Board approved a proposal earlier this year to substantially increase incentives in the form of prize money to promote Test cricket in the period leading up to the ICC Test Championship event in 2017.
Previously, the top team in the Reliance ICC Test rankings received a cheque for $175,000, but, from 2013, it will receive a minimum of $450,000, rising to $500,000 in 2015. From 2016 there will be further increases in Test prize money.
England will be aiming to carry its Test form into the ODI format and win its first series in India in 28 years, and, in so doing, cement its status as the number-one ranked side on the Reliance ICC ODI Championship table.
England plays India in a five-match series starting on Friday, 11 January in Rajkot, while South Africa will play New Zealand in a three-match series starting on 19 January in Paarl.
England currently leads second-ranked South Africa by a fraction of a point, but will take an outright lead on the championship table if it wins the series, irrespective of the results of the South Africa-New Zealand and Australia-Sri Lanka series (starting on Friday in Melbourne).
However, England's failure to win the series will give both India and South Africa opportunities to reclaim the top spot. If India wins all five matches of the series, it will jump two places to claim the top spot, while South Africa can only go top if it wins all three matches against New Zealand and India wins its series, but fails to complete a clean sweep. To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Championship table, please click here.
The ODI and T20I Championship tables, unlike the Test Championship table, are updated after every match. Reliance ICC ODI Player Rankings No fewer than seven batsmen featuring in the top 10 of the Reliance ICC ODI Player Rankings for ODI batsmen are likely to figure in the India-England, Australia-Sri Lanka and South Africa-New Zealand series. Hashim Amla currently leads the pack with his team-mate AB de Villiers second. India's Virat Kohli in third spot leads his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni by 35 ratings points, and he will not only be aiming to strengthen his position with a strong performance against England, but also put pressure on South Africa's ODI captain.
It is expected that the series will result in fewer changes at the top of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, where number-one ranked Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan is currently enjoying a comfortable lead over second-placed teammate Mohammad Hafeez.
As many as five of the top 10 are expected to be in action during the three series, including Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne Morkel, Steven Finn, Ravichandran Ashwin and Dale Steyn.
Build-up to the ICC Champions Trophy 2013
The tussle for the top spot on the Reliance ICC ODI Championship Table is also a build-up for the ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held from 6 to 23 June in England and Wales.
Group A includes defending champion Australia, 2000 winner New Zealand and 2002 champion Sri Lanka, along with host England, which reached the final when it last staged the event in 2004. Australia and Sri Lanka face-off on 17 June at The Oval in a day-night match during what will be the final edition of the ICC Champions Trophy.
While Australia and Sri Lanka may not be in the race for the number-one position on the Championship Table, the five-match series will provide both sides an opportunity to size each other up. Sides in Group B of the ICC Champions Trophy are 1998 winner South Africa, 2004 champion West Indies, 2002 winner India, and Pakistan.
The tournament opener will feature the two former winners when South Africa takes on 2002 champion India in Cardiff on 6 June. The following day, the West Indies will face Pakistan at The Oval. The semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy will be staged at The Oval (19 June) and in Cardiff (20 June), while Edgbaston will be the venue of the final, to be played on 23 June.
Reliance ICC ODI Championship table
With 14 ratings points separating number-one ranked England from sixth-ranked Sri Lanka, the battle for the Reliance ICC ODI Shield and a cash award of US$175,000 is truly warming up.
While India-England and Australia-Sri Lanka will square-off against each other from Friday, and South Africa will take on New Zealand from 19 January, there is a number of additional series to be played before the 1 April cut-off date. Australia will take on the West Indies between 1 and 10 February, England will travel to New Zealand for a three-match series from 17 February, and South Africa will host Pakistan in a five-match series from 10 March.
Every match counts as the six leading sides battle to finish inside the top two. The side that tops the Championship table on the 1 April cut-off date collects a cheque of US$175,000 along with a Shield, while the team that finishes second receives a cheque of US$75,000.
Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed has made the biggest move in the latest Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen. The latest rankings were released today, a day after the conclusion of the three-ODI series between traditional rivals India and Pakistan.
Nasir has jumped 45 places to 31st spot, while India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has returned to the top five after putting up a consistent performance with the bat in the series, which was won by Pakistan by 2-1. In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, Pakistan's duo of Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan have also made gains, while Mohammad Hafeez has now become the number-one ranked ODI all-rounder for the first time in his career.
Nasir Jamshed was the top run-getter on either side with 241 runs, which included back-to-back centuries in Chennai and Kolkata. Nasir's exploits with the bat fetched him the Player of the Series award, and he achieved a career best ratings of 588 to reach 31st position.
Dhoni's 203 runs from the three games have helped him move up two places to fourth in the batting table. Other batsmen to make upward movements include Suresh Raina in 26th (up by one) and Shoaib Malik in 78th (up by two), while Yuvraj Singh has re-entered the rankings in 41st position.
The batting table is still headed by South Africa's Hashim Amla followed by teammate AB de Villiers in second place, with Virat Kohli moving down a place to third.
The three-match ODI series was the first series between the Asian neighbours in five years. Sunday's match in New Delhi, which was won by India by 10 runs, was watched by ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, who was thrilled with the match. He later said: "We must praise the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for making room in a very tight schedule to accommodate these iconic fixtures.
"There is no doubt that there is something special about the atmosphere when India and Pakistan meet and I am sure both the BCCI and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will do their best to ensure that these games remain, where possible, an integral part of the cricketing calendar in the years ahead.
"Like me, I am sure that many millions of cricket lovers across the world enjoyed watching an outstanding standard of intense and competitive international cricket played in the right spirit in front of passionate crowds who packed some of India's most famous grounds. Congratulations are due to both sides."
Number-one ranked bowler Saeed Ajmal scalped eight wickets in the series at an average of 10.75, which has helped him achieve career-best rating of 801 points. Saeed has now became the third Pakistan bowler after Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq to break the 800-point barrier, which in ranking terms is the benchmark for top bowlers. Saeed's 801 points has put him in joint 25th position along with West Indies' Courtney Walsh in the Reliance ICC Best-Ever ODI Ratings.
Pakistan paceman Junaid Khan, who was the joint-highest wicket-taker with Saeed with eight scalps, has been served with a rise of 62 places to 55th, which has helped him achieve his career-best rating of 466 during the series.
Also moving up is India paceman Ishant Sharma, who has jumped 24 places to 72nd.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez has claimed the number-one spot in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders following his combined effort with the bat and the ball during the series. Hafeez struck 97 runs with the bat and took three wickets during the series. Hafeez has moved up three places to 36th in the batting table and has also retained his second rank in the bowlers' table.
India's Ravindra Jadeja has also climbed two places to seventh in the all-rounders' list. The left-hander has moved up one place to 70th in the batting list and has also lifted 11 places to 23rd in the bowlers' table.
Reliance ICC ODI Championship Table
Pakistan has gained three ratings points following a 2-1 series win. Misbah-ul-Haq's team had started the series on 104 ratings points and it finished on 107 ratings points to hold on to its sixth position on the Reliance ICC ODI Championship Table. Pakistan now trails fifth-placed Sri Lanka by just three ratings points.
India, which had had an opportunity to leapfrog number-one ranked England and number-two ranked South Africa had it won all the three matches, has finished on 117 ratings points after dropping three ratings points. However, India still has a chance to reclaim the number-one ranking if it beats England 4-1 or better in the forthcoming series that starts in Rajkot on Friday 11 January.
The ODI and T20I Championship table, unlike the Test Championship table, is updated after every match.
Build-up to the ICC Champions Trophy 2013
This series served as a curtain-raiser to a mouth-watering clash between the two sides in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, which will be held in England and Wales from 6-23 June. The two sides will go head-to-head on Saturday 15 June in a Group B match in what will be the final edition of the event.
While India will aim to avenge not only the home series defeat but also to register its first win over Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy, Pakistan will be looking to finish the event with a clean sheet against its traditional rival. Interestingly, Pakistan has never beaten India in an ICC Cricket World Cup match but has never lost to India in the ICC Champions Trophy.
Other sides in Group B of the ICC Champions Trophy are 1998 winner South Africa and 2004 champion West Indies. The tournament opener will feature the two former winners when South Africa, takes on the 2002 champion India in Cardiff on 6 June. The following day, the West Indies will face Pakistan at The Oval.
Group A includes defending champion Australia, 2000 winner New Zealand and 2002 champion Sri Lanka, along with host England which reached the final when it last staged the event in 2004.
The semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy will be staged at The Oval (19 June) and in Cardiff (20 June) while Edgbaston will be the venue of the final, to be played on 23 June.