India must win ODI series against New Zealand to maintain top spot
Posted on Jan 17 2014 | IANS
Wellington, Jan 17 : India enter the five-match ODI series against New Zealand at Napier on Sunday with their No.1 spot in the team rankings at stake.
India are leading the table with 120 ratings points, and enter the series leading eighth-ranked New Zealand by 36 ratings points. If India do not win the series, they will lose the No.1 rank and as many as six ratings points.
India have been at the top since January 2013, when they replaced England.
For New Zealand, a series win against India by any margin will mean that they will push up a place to seventh, ahead of the West Indies. A series loss for New Zealand, however, will not make any difference to their position on the rankings table.
If India do not manage to win the series, either Australia or England could stake a claim on the number-one rank.
Australia and England are currently playing a five-match series, with the home team leading 1-0.
India's Virat Kohli will start the series in New Zealand as the highest-ranked batsman on either side.
Kohli is currently in second position in the batsmen rankings with 859 ratings points, just 13 behind number-one ranked AB de Villiers.
A good show with the bat for Kohli could see him reclaim the number-one rank he last held in November 2013.
In all, India have three batsmen in the top 10, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in sixth place and Shikhar Dhawan in tenth spot.
Inside the top 20, Ross Taylor in 16th and Rohit Sharma in 18th place are the other batsmen likely to be seen in action.
Outside the top 20, the batsmen likely to play the series are Suresh Raina (22nd), Brendon McCullum (23rd), Martin Guptill (24th) and Kane Williamson (31st).
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja in sixth position will be the highest ranked bowler on either side. In fact, Jadeja is also the only player in the top 10 of the bowlers' table who is likely to feature in the series.
Among the top 20 bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin (16th) and Kyle Mills (17th) are the others likely to feature in the series.
Outside the top 20, the bowlers likely to play are Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (24th), Tim Southee (26th), Nathan McCullum (28th), Mitchell McClenaghan (29th), Amit Mishra (39th), Mohammed Shami (41st) and Ishant Sharma (50th).