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Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand start ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 preparations from tomorrow

Only seven ratings points separate second-placed India from sixth-ranked Sri Lanka

Chance for Ireland and Netherlands to improve their rankings

Pressure on Dhoni to retain his number-one batting position

Five of the 14 sides taking part in next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 will start their preparations for the biggest prize in cricket when they feature in a series of ODIs in Dambulla and Clontarf, Ireland.

India and Sri Lanka lock horns (once again!) in the tri series that starts August 10. New Zealand is the third team

India and Sri Lanka lock horns (once again!) in the tri series that starts August 10. New Zealand is the third team

While Sri Lanka hosts India and New Zealand in a triangular tournament in Dambulla from Tuesday (10 August), the Netherlands will take on Ireland in two ODIs which will be played on 16 and 18 August.

And England and Pakistan will soon join the bandwagon of sides which will be giving a final touch-up to their World Cup preparations when they go head to head in a five-match ODI series on 10 September after the conclusion of their four-Test series which is currently in progress.

All the sides on the table will not only be aiming to gain early momentum going into ICC’s flagship event but will also be targeting to improve their positions on the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship as US$175,000 will be awarded to the side which finishes on top of the ladder at the 1 April 2011 cut-off date along with the championship shield. The side which finishes second will earn US$75,000.

After last week’s annual update, four-time world champion Australia sits pretty in top position on 132 ratings points but only seven ratings points separate the next five sides, including second-placed India, fourth-ranked New Zealand and sixth-placed Sri Lanka.

As such, there will be a reshuffle of cards in the middle of the table irrespective of how the series pans out with India out to defend its new second-placed position while narrowing the gap with Australia, and Sri Lanka and New Zealand hoping to put up some strong performances which can help them challenge India’s position.

India can strengthen its second position if it wins all its matches which will put it on 125 ratings points. However, its failure to win a single ODI in Dambulla will mean it will drop to sixth position on 111 ratings points.

Likewise, Sri Lanka can rise to second position but for this to happen, it needs to win all its four league matches and hope New Zealand wins in either of its two ODIs against India.

Ross Taylor’s Black Caps can dislodge Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side from the second position as early as tomorrow if it wins the tournament opener but will need to beat Sri Lanka in its next match to cling on to its new position on the table.

To see how the results would affect the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table, check out the predictor function on the ICC website at http://icc-cricket.yahoo.net/match_zone/odi_predictor.php.

Meanwhile, there will be plenty at stake in the Ireland-Netherlands series as both the sides have a chance to move up to 10th position. However, to make this happen, both the sides will have to win both the ODIs.

A 2-0 win for Netherlands will put it ahead of Zimbabwe and Ireland in 10th position on 48 ratings points while Ireland will jump to 10th if it wins both the ODIs. A one-all drawn series will see both the sides retain their pre-series positions.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads the field but by just. He is only two points clear of South Africa’s AB de Villiers which means the wicketkeeper-batsman will have to bat consistently well to not only retain the top position but also extend his advantage over the Proteas’ batsman.

Sri Lanka’s Tillekeratne Dilshan (seventh), Kumar Sangakkara (11th), Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh (all 16th) and Ross Taylor (19th) are the other batsmen inside the top 20 who will be eyeing upward movements.

Outside the top 20 are Suresh Raina (23rd), Mahela Jayawardena (31st), Scott Styris (35th), Upul Tharanga (42nd), Rohit Sharma (46th) and Martin Guptill (49th).

New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori leads the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers. Though he will drop points for missing the series as a player loses 0.5 per cent of his ratings points for every ODI he misses, such is his lead that he is still likely to finish on top of the chart at the end of the series.

Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara is the highest-ranked bowler in third position who will be appearing in this series. He trails Shakib Al Hasan by 17 ratings points but can go ahead of the Bangladesh left-arm spinner with a few strong performances.

New Zealand Kyle Mills in the next highest-ranked bowler as his shares fifth position with England’s Stuart Broad and has fourth-placed Ray Price of Zimbabwe firmly within his sights while Jacob Oram is in 10th spot.

Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka has a good opportunity to return to the top 10 as he currently sit in 12th position while India’s highest-ranked bowler in the absence of 11th-ranked Harbhajan Singh is Praveen Kumar in 15th spot.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders, the highest-ranked player from the participating sides is Jacob Oram who currently occupies sixth position. The list is headed by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh while Vettori is presently in fifth spot but may slip in the rankings as he will not figure in the series.

Yuvraj Singh is the highest-ranked India all-rounder in seventh position and will be hoping to climb up the table.

Triangular series schedule

10 Aug – India v New Zealand (d/n), Dambulla

13 Aug – Sri Lanka v New Zealand (d/n), Dambulla

16 Aug – Sri Lanka v India (d/n), Dambulla

19 Aug – Sri Lanka v New Zealand (d/n), Dambulla

22 Aug – Sri Lanka v India (d/n), Dambulla

25 Aug – India v New Zealand (d/n), Dambulla

28 Aug – Final (d/n), Dambulla

Ireland-Netherlands

16 Aug – Ireland v Netherlands, Clontarf

18 Aug – Ireland v Netherlands, Clontarf

Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table (before the start of triangular series in Sri Lanka):

Rank   Team              Rating

1          Australia          132

2          India                118

3          South Africa   115

4          New Zealand  114

5          England           113

6          Sri Lanka         111

7          Pakistan           98

8          West Indies     67

9          Bangladesh     53

10        Zimbabwe       36

11        Ireland             35

12        Netherlands     32

13        Kenya              0

(Developed by David Kendix)

ICC One-Day Rankings (before the start of triangular series in Sri Lanka)

Batsmen

Rank      Player                   Team     Points    Ave         HS Rating

1           MS Dhoni              Ind          807         51.31     837 v Aus at Delhi 2009

2           AB de Villiers        SA           805         43.56     814 v WI at Dominica 2010

3           Mike Hussey        Aus         792         51.65     865 v NZ at Perth 2007

4           Hashim Amla       SA           751*!    54.84     751 v WI at Port-of-Spain 2010

5           Chris Gayle           WI          738         39.42     808 v Zim at Harare 2003

6           S.Tendulkar          Ind          732         45.12     887 v Zim at Sharjah 1998

7           T.Dilshan               SL           730         35.27     745 v Ban at Dambulla 2010

8           Jacques Kallis       SA           721         45.73     818 v WI at Johannesburg 2004

9           Ricky Ponting       Aus         716         42.85     831 v NZ at Hobart 2007

10         S.Chanderpaul     WI          711         41.77     778 v Eng at Guyana 2009

11         K.Sangakkara      SL           693         36.72     755 v Pak at Colombo (RPS) 2006

12         Graeme Smith      SA           691         40.08     785 v Ind at Kolkata 2005

13         P.Collingwood      Eng         678         36.52     700 v Aus at Lord’s 2010

14         Michael Clarke    Aus         659         43.03     751 v SL at Melbourne 2008

15         Shane Watson      Aus         658         40.29     666 v Eng at The Oval 2010

16=       Virender Sehwag  Ind          655         34.02     787 v NZ at Auckland 2003

Virat Kohli            Ind          655*      45.08     681 v SL at Harare 2010

Yuvraj Singh        Ind          655         37.09     786 v WI at Kingston 2009

19         Ross Taylor          NZ          650         35.82     698 v Aus at Adelaide 2009

20         G.Gambhir            Ind          649         38.07     702 v SL at Colombo (RPS) 2009

Bowlers

Rank      Player                   Team     Pts          Ave         Econ      HS Rating

1           Daniel Vettori       NZ          761         31.21     4.14       790 v Eng at Christchurch 2008

2           Shakib Al Hasan Ban        694         31.16     4.18       717 v Zim at Chittagong 2009

3           N.Kulasekara       SL           677         28.38     4.53       727 v NZ at Colombo (RPS) 2009

4           Ray Price               Zim         666         35.91     3.79       722 v WI at Guyana 2010

5=        Kyle Mills              NZ          658         26.45     4.68       723 v Aus at Melbourne 2009

Stuart Broad         Eng         658         26.07     5.13       703 v SA at Trent Bridge 2008

Doug Bollinger     Aus         658*!    22.14     4.33       658 v Eng at Lord’s 2010

8           Dale Steyn            SA           640         30.65     5.30       662 v Zim at Benoni 2009

9           Shahid Afridi        Pak         636         34.73     4.61       667 v Ind at Mirpur 2008

10         Jacob Oram          NZ          629         30.66     4.35       770 v Aus at The Oval 2004

11         Harbhajan Singh Ind          624         32.84     4.30       738 v WI at Bridgetown 2002

12         Ajantha Mendis   SL           621*      19.07     4.37       642 v SA at Centurion 2009

13         Mitchell Johnson Aus         620         25.71     4.94       729 v Ban at Darwin 2008

14         Ryan Harris          Aus         610*!    16.12     4.69       610 v Eng at Lord’s 2010

15         Praveen Kumar    Ind          609         33.78     5.06       617 v NZ at Wellington 2009

16         James Anderson  Eng         603         30.36     5.00       700 v Ban at Dhaka 2003

17         Saeed Ajmal         Pak         600*      30.21     4.17       610 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2009

18=       Johan Botha         SA           595         41.21     4.63       665 v Aus at Centurion 2009

Graeme Swann    Eng         595*      25.54     4.53       604 v Aus at Lord’s 2010

20         Zaheer Khan        Ind          584         29.80     4.92       701 v SA at Dhaka 2003

All-rounders

Rank      Player                   Team     Pts          HS Rating

1           Shakib Al Hasan Ban        390        454 v Zim at Chittagong 2009

2           Shahid Afridi        Pak         382!       382 v Ban at Dambulla 2010

3           Shane Watson      Aus         367        385 v Pak at Sydney 2010

4           Jacques Kallis       SA           350        506 v WI at Bridgetown 2001

5           Daniel Vettori       NZ          349        354 v Aus at Auckland 2010

*Indicates a provisional rating

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