India starts its campaign in the Asia Cup, which commences on 25 February in Dhaka, with an aim to retain its number-two position on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings at the 1 April cut-off date.
At number two, India will be the highest ranked side in the five-team tournament, with 115 ratings points, and will contest the tournament that also features fourth-ranked Sri Lanka, sixth-placed Pakistan, ninth-placed Bangladesh and unranked Afghanistan.
The side that finishes on top of the ODI rankings table at the 1 April cut-off date receives a shield and a cheque of US$175,000, while the side that finishes second receives US$75,000.
India held the number-one rank from January 2013, but ceded the top position to Australia after losing its recent ODI series against New Zealand 0-4.
Australia is now assured of the number-one ranking on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings on the 1 April cut-off date, with 117 ratings points, and will receive the ODI Shield as well as a cheque of US$175,000 for finishing atop.
Even if India were to win all its matches in the Asia Cup, including the final, it will gain two ratings points to move to 117, on par with Australia. But when ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point, Michael Clarke’s side will be ranked higher.
Therefore, India can at best hope to retain its number-two position at the end of the Asia Cup, but its position will be challenged by fourth-ranked Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka rounded off a three-match series against host Bangladesh with a six wickets win on Saturday to win the series 3-0. The clean sweep helped Sri Lanka gain one ratings point to move to 109, on par with England, but when ratings were calculated beyond the decimal point, Angelo Mathews’ men were able to move ahead into fourth place.
Sri Lanka can now hope to move ahead of India on the rankings table if it wins all its matches in the Asia Cup, including the final. In such a scenario, Sri Lanka will gain three ratings points to finish on 112, one ratings point ahead of India and therefore move up two places to second.
But if India wins even one of its matches during the tournament, it will hold onto the number-two position, in spite of losing up to three ratings points to finish on 112.
Battle for fifth position
Meanwhile, fifth-placed England and sixth-ranked Pakistan will also be involved in a keen tussle on the table. While Pakistan will be seen in action during the Asia Cup, England will take on West Indies in a three-match series in Antigua from 28 February.
England will hold onto fifth position if it wins at least one of the matches in the series against eighth-ranked West Indies.
Should England fail to win a match, however, Pakistan can hope to move ahead of England if it wins all the matches in the Asia Cup, including the final.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan has an opportunity to get onto the main ODI rankings table during the Asia Cup.
To gain this promotion, Afghanistan must either win two ODIs against Full Members, or achieve one win in an ODI against a Full Member and also have won more than 60% of qualifying matches versus other Associates (as shown on the Associate / Affiliate ODI Ranking Table).
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Rankings Table, please click here. The ODI and T20I Rankings tables, unlike the Test Rankings Table, are updated after every match.
India captain Virat Kohli starts the Asia Cup with an opportunity to reclaim the number-one position on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen.
Kohli is currently ranked second with 870 ratings points, just two behind number-one ranked AB de Villiers. With South Africa having no scheduled ODI series, Kohli has an excellent opportunity to reclaim the number-one position he last held in January 2014.
Kohli is also the highest-ranked batsman in the Asia Cup, and the lone player from his team in the top 10 in the absence of regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The other batsmen inside the top 20 likely to be seen in action over the coming weeks are Kumar Sangakkara (fifth), Misbah-ul-Haq (eighth), Shikhar Dhawan (11th), Eoin Morgan (13th) and Mohammad Hafeez (16th).
Meanwhile, Saeed Ajmal will start the Asia Cup as the number-one ranked bowler on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI Bowlers.
West Indies’ Sunil Narine in third will be the highest ranked in the series against England.
The others in the top 20 likely to be seen in action over the next fortnight are Ravindra Jadeja (ninth), Junaid Khan (11th), Abdur Razzak (13th), Hafeez (15th), Angelo Mathews (17th) and Shakib Al Hasan (20th).
West Indies v Ireland
23 February: One-off ODI, Kingston (Jamaica)
25 February: Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Fatullah (d/n)
26 February: Bangladesh v India, Fatullah (d/n)
27 February: Afghanistan v Pakistan, Fatullah (d/n)
28 February: India v Sri Lanka, Fatullah (d/n)
1 March: Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Fatullah (d/n)
2 March: India v Pakistan, Mirpur (d/n)
3 March: Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Mirpur (d/n)
4 March: Bangladesh v Pakistan, Mirpur (d/n)
5 March: Afghanistan v India, Mirpur (d/n)
6 March: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Mirpur (d/n)
8 March: Final, Mirpur (d/n)
West Indies v England
28 February: First ODI, Antigua
2 March: Second ODI, Antigua
5 March: Third ODI, Antigua
Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 23 February after Bangladesh-Sri Lanka series)