With the Asia Cup starting in Mirpur, Dhaka, on Sunday, India’s iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar will be eyeing to score his hundredth international century and, in the meantime, also improve his rankings.
Tendulkar has scored 51 Test and 48 ODI centuries in an illustrious 23-year career but the 100th century has been eluding him since last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup.
In addition to this, Tendulkar’s current ranking of 29th is his lowest since December 1991, when he slipped to 31st position. The 38 year-old’s highest career ranking is at the top of the listings, a mark he first achieved in February 1996.
Sri Lanka’s batting trio Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal will be aiming to carry their recent good form into the Asia Cup.
If they can do that then it will help them maintain upward movement in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen after the trio stormed up the batting chart at the conclusion of the three-nation series which finished in Adelaide on Thursday.
Sangakkara has jumped five places to fourth position after finishing as the fourth leading run-getter with 420 runs, Dilshan has moved up four places to 10th place after ending as the leading scorer with 513 runs, while Chandimal has broken into the top 20 for the first time and lies in 18th spot after scoring 419 runs, success that saw him rise 18 places.
The latest rankings, which reflect player performances in the three-match ODI series between New Zealand and South Africa which finished on 3 March, were released on Friday.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena is the other Sri Lanka batsman to improve his ranking in the tri-series in Australia, which also featured world champion India. Jayawardena chipped in with 406 runs and has been rewarded with a rise of two places which has put him in 17th position.
Three Australia batsmen have also been rewarded for their consistent performances.
Captain Michael Clarke has moved up two places to eighth spot after scoring 331 runs in six matches, David Warner has been rewarded with a jump of 97 places which puts him in 53rd position after he aggregated 506 runs in the series and David Hussey has gained eight places and is now in 34th position after scoring 439 runs at an average of just under 55.
Other players to improve their rankings include New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum 19th (up by eight places) and JP Duminy of South Africa in 22nd (up by two places).
In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, South Africa’s Lonwabo Tsotsobe has achieved the number-one ranking for the first time in his career.
The South Africa left-arm fast bowler took six wickets in his side’s 3-0 win over New Zealand which has been enough to lift him ahead of Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal.
Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn are the other South Africa bowlers on a move in the right direction.
Morkel was the most successful bowler in the series with seven wickets which has helped him leapfrog England’s Graeme Swann in third position while Steyn has moved up three places to 13th position.
Australia’s trio Shane Watson, Clint McKay and Xavier Doherty have also improved their rankings. Watson has vaulted 15 places to 25th position, McKay has moved up six places to 28th position and Doherty has gained a place and is now in 29th spot.
In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders, Watson has dislodged Shakib Al Hasan from the number-one position. The Australia leads the former Bangladesh captain by three ratings points.
In the ICC ODI Championship table, the main battle appears to be for the number two position as Australia has all-but-sealed top spot for the third successive year and ninth time in 11 years.
The only way Australia can slip behind second-ranked South Africa is in the highly unlikely scenario of it losing all the five ODIs against the West Indies. In other words, Australia just needs to win an ODI of the five-match series to retain the prestigious ODI shield and with it win a cheque of US$175,000.
However, battle for second position remains tight with South Africa leading India by just one ratings point.