Sharma storms up the ODI batting charts

SharmaIndia’s Rohit Sharma has surged into the top five of the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen after stellar performances in the just-concluded series against Australia, which the world champion and number-one ranked side won 4-1.

Sharma has claimed a career-best fifth position after rising eight places following his series aggregate of 441 runs in five matches. Sharma, who played in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2006 in Sri Lanka, has now become India’s second highest-ranked batsman behind Virat Kohli (second), with captain MS Dhoni slipping seven places to 13th position in the latest rankings, which were released on Sunday morning.

Sharma, who was declared Player of the Series, earned 59 points for his performances and he is now 64 points behind Kohli, who trails number-one ranked AB de Villiers of South Africa by 75 points.

Australia’s dominant performance in the series is reflected in the fact that Glenn Maxwell and Steven Smith have improved their rankings, while David Warner has achieved a career-high ranking.

Maxwell, who scored 169 runs in the series, has moved up two places to eighth, Smith’s 315 runs have helped him rise five places to 15th, and Warner has jumped five places to 18th after scoring 220 runs.

Outside the top 20, Ajinkya Rahane has moved up three place to 25th after contributing 141 runs, and Mitchell Marsh has rocketed 21 places to a career-best 43rd after scoring 164 runs.

The series, in which a total of 3,159 runs were scored, proved to be a difficult one for the bowlers and this is reflected in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for ODI Bowlers in which most of the top-ranked bowlers have been unable to defend their pre-series rankings.

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has dropped two places to 11th, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has slipped seven places to 20th, James Faulkner has plummeted seven places to 27th, Axar Patel has fallen four places to 33rd and Umesh Yadav has plunged five places to 41st.

The only bowlers inside the top 50 to improve their rankings are India’s Ravindra Jadeja, who is in 22nd place (up by two places), and John Hastings of Australia at a career-best 49th (up by 62 places). Outside the top 50, Ishant Sharma has gained 15 places and is now in 71st spot.

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc missed the series against India, resulting in him dropping from the number-one position. Starc had moved to the top after he bowled Australia to the ICC Cricket World Cup victory last year in March.

Starc’s slip means New Zealand’s Trent Boult will start the three-match series against Pakistan as the number-one ranked bowler. He leads Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, in second place, by seven points.

In the series against Pakistan, New Zealand will have an opportunity to move ahead of third-ranked South Africa. However, to make it happen, it will have to win all three matches against Pakistan.

Since the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Pakistan has played 18 ODIs in which it has won eight and lost nine. In contrast, New Zealand has played 16 ODIs in the same period and has won eight and lost seven. In this background, there is very little to choose between the two sides, which are separated by 24 points on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Championship table.

Meanwhile, India, after winning the Sydney ODI, has retained it second position on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Championship. It trails Australia by 15 points but is just one point ahead of South Africa, which will play five ODIs against sixth-ranked England from 3-14 February.

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