The Indian cricket team has the chance to rise up a notch and replace Australia as the second-placed team in the ICC one-day rankings if it manages to whitewash New Zealand 5-0 in the series starting on Tuesday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team is currently third,four ratings points behind second-placed Australia and five behind top team South Africa.
A clean sweep will put India ahead of Ricky Ponting’s men by a fraction of a point but it would remain just behind the Proteas in what would be an extraordinarily tightly packed leader-board with one ratings point separating the top three ODI teams in world cricket.
For its part,New Zealand can move up to third ahead of India if it wins the series 4-1 or better but it will drop as low as sixth if it suffers a 5-0 defeat.
The series is also an opportunity for some of the top players to make further gains in the rankings.
Dhoni is currently enjoying the top spot in the rankings for batsmen but team-mate Yuvraj Singh is hot on his heels in third position.
India has four batsmen in the top 20 – Gautam Gambhir in 12th place and Virender Sehwag in 15th – not to mention Sachin Tendulkar in 21st position,compared to New Zealand’s single representation in Ross Taylor,who is placed 16th.
But it is the Black Caps’ bowling that has most impressed of late with captain Daniel Vettori currently leading the rankings and Kyle Mills now in third spot,with a third bowler,Jacob Oram,in 19th place.
In contrast,India has just one bowler in the top 20 with Zaheer Khan occupying the 12th position.