The fight for the number-one batting position between India’s Virat Kohli and South Africa captain AB de Villiers on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen could get exciting in the coming weeks.
With only eight rating points separating number-one ranked Kohli from de Villiers, the forthcoming series offers both of them with an opportunity to either retain or reclaim the top position.
While India plays the West Indies in a three-match series from 21 November in Kochi, South Africa plays host to Pakistan in a three-match series from 24 November. The series in India finishes on 27 November and the series in South Africa finishes on 30 November.
This means that both Kohli and de Villiers can potentially make the most of the home conditions in their quest.
Kohli replaced Hashim Amla as the top batsman at the end of the series against Australia in November 2013, for the first-time in his career. De Villiers, on the other hand, has been a number-one ranked batsman previously, with June 2013 being the last time he was ranked number-one.
De Villiers will enter the home series in second position after gaining three places following stellar performances against Pakistan in the UAE.
The latest player rankings was released at the end of the three-match series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, which ended in a 1-1 deadlock. It also factors in Bangladesh’s 3-0 series win over New Zealand and South Africa’s 4-1 series win over Pakistan
The only other positive change inside the top 10 was Tillakaratne Dilshan moving up a place to seventh.
Outside the top 20, JP Duminy in 27th (up by one), Nasir Hossain in 34th (up by five), Angelo Mathews in 37th (up by two), Faf du Plessis in 45th (up by 11), David Miller in 58th (up by three) and Ahmed Shehzad in 70th (up by 13) are some of the other batsmen to move in the right direction.
Meanwhile, South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn is back in the top 10 of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers. Steyn has moved up five positions to 10th after claiming six wickets in two ODIs against Pakistan.
The other two South Africa bowlers inside the top 10 are Morne Morkel in eighth and Lonwabo Tsotsobe in ninth.
Nuwan Kulasekara has moved up two places to 16th, while Tim Southee has gained a place to figure in 20th spot.
Outside the top 20, Ryan McLaren (up by four) and Junaid Khan (up by two) are now jointly ranked 26th with Darren Sammy (up by one); Mohammad Irfan in 29th (up by three), Nathan McCullum in 35th (up by 10), Mitchell McLenaghan in 37th (up by nine), Rubel Hossain in 52nd (up by two), Wayne Parnell in 61st (up by five), Sachitra Senanayake in 63rd (up by 19) and Mahmudullah in 64th (up by five) are some of the others to move upwards.
Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has maintained his hold on the number-one rank on theReliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers with West Indies’ Sunil Narine in second and India’s Ravindra Jadeja in third place.
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Rankings Table, please click here. The ODI and T20I Rankings tables, unlike the Test Rankings Table, are updated after every match.
Meanwhile, India starts the three-match series against West Indies assured of retaining its number-one rank on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings table, irrespective of the outcome of the series.
India is currently ranked first with 123 ratings points and enters the series leading seventh-ranked West Indies by 34 ratings points. Because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, India’s failure to win the series will result in it losing as many as four ratings points.
West Indies, on the other hand, could gain as many five ratings points if it wins the series 3-0 to move up to 94, but it will retain its pre-series seventh rank.
Meanwhile, South Africa starts the series against sixth-ranked Pakistan with an opportunity to move up two places to third, but only if it makes a clean sweep of the series. South Africa, currently ranked fifth with 109 ratings points, could gain two ratings points in such a scenario to move level with England, but will be ranked above Alastair Cook’s men when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
But if South Africa wins the series by any other margin it will retain its pre-series fifth rank with no change in ratings points.
For Pakistan a series win by any margin will only mean gain of as many as three ratings points to 101, thereby reducing the gap with fifth-ranked South Africa, but will not result in any change in its ranking position.
The 1-1 series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand has resulted in both sides retaining their pre-series rank. Sri Lanka continues to be ranked fourth with 110 ratings points, while New Zealand trails West Indies in seventh position with 85 ratings points.
India v West Indies
21 November: 1st ODI, Kochi (d/n)
24 November: 2nd ODI, Visakhapatnam (d/n)
27 November: 3rd ODI, Kanpur
South Africa v Pakistan
24 November: 1st ODI, Cape Town (d/n)
27 November: 2nd ODI, Port Elizabeth
30 November: 3rd ODI, Cape Town
Reliance ICC ODI Rankings (as on 16 November after Bangladesh-New Zealand, Pakistan-South Africa and Sri Lanka-New Zealand, before India-West Indies and South Africa-Pakistan)