Dubai: India will need to win at least a game in the upcoming one-dayer series against Australia to retain their current second position in the ICC ODI Team Championships, even as second-placed Virat Kohli looks to close in on AB de Villiers in the batting chart.
World champions Australia go head to head with former winner India in a five-match series in Perth on Tuesday.
Australia (127) lead second-ranked India (114) by 13 points and even if they lose all the five matches of the series, they will drop points but still finish a point ahead of India.
In contrast, if India lose all the five matches, then they will slip behind South Africa and will join fourth-ranked New Zealand on 111 points, but will be ranked third when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point, an ICC release stated.
In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, India boast three batsmen inside the top 10, while Australia only have Glenn Maxwell in 10th position.
Virat Kohli is the highest-ranked batsman from either side in second position. He trails number-one ranked AB de Villiers of South Africa by 96 points but is ahead of another South African, Hashim Amla, by 28 points. This means the India Test captain will be aiming to produce solid performances to not only consolidate his second position but to also narrow the gap with the top-ranked de Villiers.
Sixth-ranked Mahendra Singh Dhoni and seventh-ranked Shikhar Dhawan are separated by just 11 points, which means there can potentially be some changes in the middle of the pack depending on how these two batsmen perform.
Batsmen sitting outside the top 10 and aiming for upward movement include Rohit Sharma (13th), Aaron Finch (14th), George Bailey (15th), Steven Smith (20th), David Warner (23rd), Ajinkya Rahane (28th) and James Faulkner (30th).
In the bowlers' rankings, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will start as the highest-ranked bowler from either side in the absence of number-one ranked Mitchell Starc.
Ashwin, who is the number-one ranked Test bowler, is in 10th position and will be aiming to return to the top five. However, to make it happen, he will have to produce exceptional performances as he trails South Africa's fifth-ranked Dale Steyn by 42 points.
India fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the next highest-ranked bowler to feature in the series. He is in 14th position and 43 points behind Ashwin.
Other bowlers aiming for upward movements include Faulkner (22nd), Ravindra Jadeja (25th), Axar Patel (30th) and Umesh Yadav (37th).
In the rankings for all-rounders, fourth-ranked Maxwell and fifth-ranked Faulkner will be aiming to gain a place each as they have Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan firmly within their sights. The list is headed by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh.