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India one win away from retaining No 2 spot in ODIs

World Champions Australia will go head-to-head with India in a five-match One-Day International (ODI) series starting in Perth on Tuesday, with their No.1 ranking secure in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.

Australia (127 points) lead second-ranked India by 13 points. Even if they lose all five games, Australia will drop points but will still finish a point ahead of India.

In contrast, if India lose all the matches, they will slip behind South Africa and join fourth-ranked New Zealand on 111 points, but will be ranked third when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point. To retain their second place, the India need to win at least one match of the series.

Meanwhile, in the players’ rankings, India boast three batsmen in the top 10 while Australia only have Glenn Maxwell in the 10th position. Virat Kohli is the highest-ranked batsman from either side at second. He trails No.1 ranked AB de Villiers of South Africa by 96 points but is ahead of another South African, Hashim Amla, by 28. The Indian Test captain will be aiming to produce solid performances not only to consolidate his position but also to narrow the gap to de Villiers. 

Sixth-ranked Mahendra Singh Dhoni and seventh-ranked Shikhar Dhawan are separated by just 11 points, which means there can potentially be some changes in the middle of the pack depending on how these two perform.

Batsmen sitting outside the top-10 and aiming for upward movement include Rohit Sharma (13th), Aaron Finch (14th), George Bailey (15th), Steven Smith (20th), David Warner (23rd), Ajinkya 
Rahane (28th) and James Faulkner (30th).

In the bowlers’ rankings, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will start as the highest-ranked bowler from either side in the absence of No.1 ranked Mitchell Starc. Ashwin, who is No.1 in Tests, is in 10th position and will look to return to the top-five. However, to make it happen, he will have to produce exceptional performances as he trails South Africa's fifth-ranked Dale Steyn by 42 points.

Indian fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the next highest-ranked bowler to feature in the series in 14th position and 43 points behind Ashwin. Other bowlers aiming for upward movement include Faulkner (22nd), Ravindra Jadeja (25th), Axar Patel (30th) and Umesh Yadav (37th).
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