Winning series against Australia will make India top ODI side

Winning series against Australia will make India top ODI side

Playing for the top spot

Trailing table-topper Australia by four rating points, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side will reach the top if they win the series but they can also drop below third placed South Africa if they lose 6-1 or 7-0, according to an ICC release here on Friday.

It would be a golden opportunity for India to regain the number-one position in the ODI Championship for the third time in as many months as the series begins in Vadodara on Sunday.

India had surged to the top of the ladder after defeating New Zealand in its opening match in the tri-series in Colombo on August 11 and then again following South Africa's loss to Sri Lanka in the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 opener at Centurion on September 22.

However, time spent at the top has been short for Dhoni's side as they slipped back into second position after losing to Sri Lanka at Colombo on 12 August and then to Pakistan at Centurion on 26 September.

If India manages to beat Australia by 4-3 or better in this series, they will be guaranteed a place at the top – this time for a longer period.

A 4-3 result will put India on 127 ratings points, one ahead of Australia, and a 5-2 result will take them to 129 ratings points while dropping Australia to 124 ratings points.
A 6-1 victory for Dhoni's side will put it on 131 ratings points, nine points ahead of Australia, while a 7-0 sweep will take them to 133 ratings points while pushing Australia into third position on 120 ratings points.

In fact, India can go to top of the table as early as October 28, provided they win both the Vadodara and Nagpur matches. Australia, meanwhile, need to win the series to retain its number-one position.

An Australia 4-3 win will mean both the sides maintain their pre-series ratings while a 5-2 or better series win will strengthen Australia's position at the top.

Meanwhile, at the top of the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, Dhoni leads vice-captain Yuvraj Singh by a distance. Dhoni has been on the top since reclaiming the number-one position from West Indies captain Chris Gayle on January 31.

Apart from Dhoni and Yuvraj, India boasts Sachin Tendulkar (ninth), Virender Sehwag (10th) and Gautam Gambir (16th) inside the top 20 with the trio eyeing upward movements. Brett Lee (16th) and Harbhajan Singh (18th) are the other two bowlers from either side inside the top 20.