Preparations for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will go up a notch this week when Pakistan hosts Australia in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series, and world champion and number-one ranked India welcomes West Indies for a five-match ODI series. The first of the two simultaneous series gets underway at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, 7 October, and a 3-0 series victory for Australia will see it ascend to 114 points. This result will give the four-time world champion the number-one ranking on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings provided the West Indies wins, at least, two matches in its five-ODI series against India, which starts on Wednesday, 8 October in Kochi.
This scenario will see India stay on 113 ratings points, alongside South Africa, but it will be ranked behind the Proteas when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point to slip from the number-one spot. However, if India wins all five matches of the series, it will rise to 116 ratings point and grab sole position on top of the table. A 4-1 win for India and 3-0 win for Australia will put both the sides on 114 ratings points, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side will retain the number-one position by a fraction of a point. Australia, which trails third-ranked Sri Lanka by a fraction of a point, will move ahead of Angelo Mathews’ side if it wins the series against Pakistan.
If India beats the West Indies 3-2 and Australia defeats Pakistan 2-1, then South Africa will move to the top of the table. There is an added incentive for three of the four competing sides in these series. India and West Indies are in Pool B of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and this series will provide them an excellent opportunity to examine each other ahead of their match at the WACA on Friday, 6 March 2015.
Pakistan is also in Pool B and will be keeping an eye on both India and the West Indies, as the 1992 world champion will go head to head with these sides in Adelaide on 15 February and in Christchurch on 21 February, respectively. Australia is in Pool A of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and will kick off its campaign with a Valentine’s Day clash against England in Melbourne.
In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq currently sits in 12th place, while the other batsmen from his side into the top 50 include Ahmed Shehzad (17th), Umar Akmal (21st) and Shahid Afridi (50th). Australia captain George Bailey (fourth) is his side’s highest-ranked batsman, and he trails third-ranked Virat Kohli by eight ratings points. Australia players eyeing upward movements include Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell (joint 25th), David Warner and James Faulkner (joint 43rd) and Phil Hughes (47th).
Third-ranked Virat Kohli will be aiming to reclaim his number-one ranking when he takes the field against the West Indies. Kohli surged to the top of the table earlier this year but slipped after missing the series against Bangladesh. He now trails number-one ranked AB de Villiers by 24 ratings points. Captain Dhoni (sixth) and opener Shikhar Dhawan (seventh) are the other India batsman featuring inside the top 10. For the West Indies, Darren Bravo (37th) is its high-ranked batsman, while Lendl Simmons is in 40th position. Both will be looking to gain ground on their nearest competitors when the action gets underway on 8 October.
In the ICC Players Rankings for ODI Bowlers, Mitchell Johnson will start off as the highest-ranked bowler from either side, in seventh position. In the ICC Players Rankings for ODI Bowlers, Ravindra Jadeja is India’s top ranked bowler in fifth spot, 13 points shy of England’s James Anderson. In Sunil Narine’s absence, 18th placed Kemar Roach is the West Indies top ranked bowler and he will be keen to progress up the leaderboard.
Jadeja also has a chance to climb the ICC Player Rankings for All-rounders as he currently sits in third place, five points off Sri Lanka’s Mathews.
Pakistan v Australia
7 Oct – First ODI, Sharjah
10 Oct – Second ODI, Dubai
12 Oct – Third ODI, Abu Dhabi
India v West Indies
8 Oct – First ODI, Kochi
11 Oct – Second ODI, Visakhapatnam
14 Oct – Third ODI, Cuttack
17 Oct – Fourth ODI, Kolkata
20 Oct – Fifth ODI, Dharmasala