Chance for India to close in on Australia in ODIs

India can close the gap on Australia – world number one in ODIs – if they manage a clean sweep against West Indies in the five-match one-day series starting on Monday.

Failure to win the series in the Caribbean will, however, dent India’s ambitions.

With 121 points, second-placed India trail Australia by eight points.

In fact, only a 5-0 result can help India in their march towards the number one spot as West Indies are ranked several places below the world champions and currently trails them by 49 ratings points.

After the series against West Indies, India, world number one in Tests, also play five one-dayers against England.

The series in the Caribbean islands also provides the youngsters from both sides an opportunity to make a mark and rise up in rankings.

Stand-in skipper Suresh Raina will look to improve on his 32nd position and join some of his teammates who are already in the top 20.

Virat Kohli, in eighth position, is the highest-ranked India player in ODIs and, in the absence of Gautam Gambhir (in 12th position), Virender Sehwag (13th) and Yuvraj Singh (17th) through injury and illness, the Delhi lad has a chance to widen the gap.

As far as bowling is concerned, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (17th position) is the highest-ranked bowler from either side.

With no Chris Gayle or Shivnarine Chanderpaul for the first two ODIs, Ramnaresh Sarwan (in 38th position) is the highest-ranked West Indies batsman.

Ravi Rampaul (29th), Praveen Kumar (30th) and Munaf Patel (32nd), among others, are the other bowlers who would look to climb up in rankings.

World Cup finalist Sri Lanka, with 118 points, are placed third, while South Africa (116) and England (105) complete the top five.

Pakistan (100 points) are in the sixth position followed by New Zealand and West Indies.

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