Calcutta: Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co. have a chance to top the rankings table if they are able to inflict a whitewash on England in the upcoming five-match one-day series starting on Friday.
India’s campaign against England begins in Rajkot and the only way the hosts, currently ranked third, can regain their numero uno position is by winning all the five matches of the series. A 5-0 win will see India jump two places to claim the top spot.
England too will be aiming to carry their Test form into the ODI format and, and cement their status as the No. 1 ranked side.
On the other hand, South Africa too can move to the top of table as they are playing New Zealand in a three-match series starting on 19 January in Paarl. However, the Proteas can only go top if they win all three matches against New Zealand and India wins their series, but fail to complete a clean sweep.
England currently lead second-ranked South Africa by a fraction of a point, but will take an outright lead on the championship table if they win the series, irrespective of the results of the South Africa-New Zealand and Australia-Sri Lanka series (starting on Friday in Melbourne).
In the ODI Player Rankings, no fewer than seven batsmen featuring in the top 10 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 teammate 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 Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, where No. 1 ranked Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan is currently enjoying a comfortable lead over second-placed teammate Mohammed 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.
The tussle for the top spot on the ODI Championship Table is also a build-up for the ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held from June 6 to 23 in England and Wales.