Firstpost Spodcast Episode 254: Virat Kohli maintains No 1 spot in ICC Test rankings, Dejan Papic to become head coach of Indian national table tennis team and more

In cricket news, India skipper Virat Kohli has retained his number one position in the latest ICC Test batsmen's rankings.

Kohli, who is on top of the list with 922 points, last featured in India's 2-1 Test series win over Australia. New Zealand's Kane Williamson is second with 913 points and Cheteshwar Pujara, on 881 points, is ranked third.

In the team rankings, India remain in the first place followed by New Zealand and South Africa, with England and Australia rounding in fourth and fifth rank respectively.
In the Test bowlers' rankings, two Indians feature in the top 10, with Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin holding the sixth and 10th spot respectively. Meanwhile, England’s pace spearhead James Anderson has been ruled out of the four-day Test against Ireland starting today due to a right calf injury. Had the 36-year-old played the one-off Test, the second placed bowler would have got a chance to bridge the 16-point gap to Australia's Pat Cummins.

Dejan Papic has accepted the one-year coaching contract offered by the Sports Authority of India.

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) had short-listed Papic back in March but it was only a couple of weeks ago that SAI sent him the contract. More crucial time was lost when he took some time to sign the contract.

Caleb Ewan sprinted to his second victory on the Tour de France on Tuesday as Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe kept the overall lead after stage 16, where defending champion Geraint Thomas fell but finished with all the main contenders.

Ewan meanwhile was following up his victory on stage 11 at Toulouse and the Australian was favourite for a repeat performance in the unusual heat.

As France experienced a heatwave, some fans stayed away due to the 35-Degree-Celsius afternoon heat along the southern French route with celebrated regional vineyards and olive groves but the conditions failed to slow down the cyclists.

There was a fair bit of drama at the FINA World Championships 2019 in South Korea on Tuesday. Chinese swimmer Sun Yang suffered another salty snub on Tuesday after retaining his 200 metres freestyle world title on a controversial disqualification that sparked howls of protest.

Lithuania's Danas Rapsys beat the Olympic champion to the wall in a pulsating final, only to see the dreaded "DQ", meaning disqualified, flash up on the giant screen for having twitched on the starting blocks.

Sun has picked up quite a bit of infamy recently. British swimmer Duncan Scott, who tied for the bronze medal, refused to shake Sun's hand on the podium, much like Australian Mack Horton had done after losing to the Chinese swimmer in the 400 metres final during the weekend. Sun is competing under a doping cloud after a leaked FINA report alleged he smashed blood samples with a hammer after being visited by testers last year.

And a lovely bit of camaraderie to close the podcast. England’s World Cup-winning all-rounder Ben Stokes said that he was ‘flattered’ on being nominated for the New Zealander of the Year honour but wants Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson to take home the award.

Ben Stokes was born in Christchurch, New Zealand to former rugby league player Gerard and his wife Deb. Stokes moved to England when he was 12-years-old and has been in England ever since, despite his parents moving back to Christchurch.

Stokes posted a message on Instagram that read: “I am flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year. I am proud of my New Zealand and Maori heritage but it would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award. There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand. I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK – it has been since I was 12-years old. I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a kiwi legend. He led his team in this World Cup with distinction and honour. He was the player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men. He shows humility and empathy to every situation and is an all-round good bloke. He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander. He would be a worthy recipient of this accolade. New Zealand, fully support him. He deserves it and gets my vote.”

Updated Date: Jul 24, 2019 12:39:43 IST