x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Australia reeled in by India and South Africa

As the year draws to a close, the Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni managed to continue his reign at the top of the ICC's one-day cricket rankings.

India's Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh played a big part in the rise of the Indian team in the ICC rankings.
India's Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh played a big part in the rise of the Indian team in the ICC rankings.

As the year draws to a close, the Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni managed to continue his reign at the top of the ICC's one-day cricket rankings ahead of Australia's Mike Hussey. His teammate Yuvraj Singh was in the sixth spot while Sachin Tendulkar was 12th. Despite being on the verge of losing to South Africa, Australia are still the top-ranked team in both formats of the game. However, India are not far behind in second place while South Africa are third. The domination of yesteryears seems to be fading.

The British newspaper, The Guardian, published its world Test team of the year recently with six Indians, three South Africans and two English players making the grade, but not one Australian. South Africa's Graeme Smith was chosen as captain. Another newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, also named the Indians as the Team of the Year while Tendulkar surpassing Brian Lara as the highest Test-run-getter was voted the Feat of the Year. Journalist Steve James wrote: "Their 2-0 Test series victory over Australia officially ended their opponents' era of relentless domination. And then England suffered. Talent oozes from their every pore.

"Retiring legends are being replaced with astonishing ease. There is depth in every department, and in Dhoni they possess not just a wonderful leader but an impressive man too." Zaheer Khan, who is one of the six Indians in the newspaper's team, revealed he believes the reason for his success was a shorter run-up. "I think a major difference in my career has been my readiness to cut down on my run-up. My reduced run-up, without sacrificing on my leap at the point of delivery, has improved my rhythm and fitness," Zaheer said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand can rise to fourth place behind Australia (131), South Africa and India (119 each) in the Test rankings. However, they could still slip to as low as eighth, depending on the outcome of their five-match series against West Indies. Daniel Vettori's side sit in fifth place but a 5-0 series win will lift them above Pakistan. However, a defeat would mean the Kiwis conceding 11 rating points to the West Indies. This will put both the teams level on 102 but Chris Gayle's side will be placed higher than the Kiwis in seventh when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.

kshyam@thenational.ae