India can reclaim the top spot in the International Cricket Council ODI rankings if they blank England 3-0 in the three-match series beginning on July 12.
England and India, currently ranked first and second respectively, play the first match of their upcoming series in Nottingham on Thursday, in what will kick off a month-long extravaganza of One-Day Internationals featuring 10 sides, spread across four continents.
India, who had beaten England 2-1 in the Twenty20 International series, had conceded the top ranking to England at the annual update on May 2 but it will get a chance to claim back the spot.
But for that, they will have to blank their opponents 3-0. England, on the other hand, will run up a lead of 10 points at the top of the table if they win by the same margin, the ICC said in a release.
The possibility of a change at the top though is not the only matter of interest in upcoming matches since seven of the 10 teams playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be on view during this period until August 12.
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Apart from the England-India series ending on July 17, Zimbabwe will host Pakistan for five matches from July 13 to 22, the West Indies will play three at home versus Bangladesh from July 22 to 28, Sri Lanka will host South Africa for five matches from July 29 to August 12 and the Netherlands play two at home against Nepal.
Fifth-placed Pakistan will have to win the series against Zimbabwe by a margin of 4-1 in order to ensure they do not slip behind sixth-placed Australia, while 10th-ranked Zimbabwe will have to pull off a 4-1 win over Pakistan in order to leapfrog Afghanistan and move up one spot in the rankings table.
Similarly, third-ranked South Africa face the challenge of blanking Sri Lanka 5-0 in an away series to ensure they do not slip behind New Zealand even as mid-table sides Bangladesh (seventh), Sri Lanka (eighth) and the West Indies (ninth) will be vying for important points during this period.
Nepal will debut in ODIs when they play two matches against the Netherlands on August 1 and 3 while the Netherlands will be turning out in ODIs for the first time since losing ODI status in 2014 at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand.
Nepal gained ODI status at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe earlier this year while the Netherlands regained it earlier by winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship.
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The individual players will be hoping to make impressive entries in the ICC ODI Player Rankings, which could see a number of changes when the rankings are next updated on August 13 after 18 matches.
India captain Virat Kohli leads the rankings for batsmen with a career-high rating of 909 points, a good 96 points ahead of Pakistan’s Babar Azam, who will be hoping to get back into the groove after missing the recent tri-series in Zimbabwe due to injury.
Fourth-ranked Rohit Sharma of India will be looking to continue his T20I form in the ODIs, sixth-ranked Joe Root of England has a good chance of overtaking Ross Taylor, while the South Africa pair of Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis as well as India’s left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan are the other players likely to be seen in action.
In the bowlers’ list, top-ranked Jasprit Bumrah’s finger injury, due to which he will miss the series, gives others a chance to close the gap, and third-ranked Hasan Ali of Pakistan would be eyeing a return to the top spot.
Leg-spinners Adil Rashid of England and Yuzvendra Chahal of India are other top 10 players who will be seen in upcoming matches.
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