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Sachin's back in business in LG ICC Player Rankings

India's Sachin Tendulkar has moved back into the top 20 of the LG ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen after scoring his 41st hundred in that form of the game, against the West Indies on Wednesday

Brian Murgatroyd
India's Sachin Tendulkar has moved back into the top 20 of the LG ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen after scoring his 41st hundred in that form of the game, against the West Indies on Wednesday.
The little master slipped out of that elite group last April, briefly regained his place during a tri-series against Australia and the West Indies in Malaysia and the ICC Champions Trophy, and then dropped out again by the end of the latter tournament in November 2006.
However, 191 runs in the just-concluded four-match series, including an unbeaten 100 in Vadodara, have seen Tendulkar rise four places to joint 18th in the list, alongside Sri Lanka's Upul Thuranga.
It means India can now boast four players inside the top 20 batting slots with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in fourth position - his highest rankings since August 2006 - captain Rahul Dravid in 12th spot and Yuvraj Singh lying 20th.
India will be heartened by the fact that Dhoni, Dravid and Tendulkar are all on the rise in the LG ICC Player Rankings, perfect timing given the ICC Cricket World Cup is only just over a month away.
And even though Yuvraj has slipped one place, it will still be a source of encouragement that he is playing again after being sidelined since October with a serious knee injury.
India's 3-1 success against the West Indies has not been enough to lift it up from sixth place in the LG ICC ODI Championship table but with only four rating points separating it from third-placed Pakistan, there is still plenty of scope for upward movement for Dravid's side when it lines up against Sri Lanka in another four-match series later this month.
In fact, with ten of the eleven sides in the table in action over the next few weeks - the West Indies is the exception - the chances are there will be significant changes in the standings before the ICC Cricket World Cup starts on 13 March.
Indeed, by the time that tournament begins, India could still be in sixth place in the table or perhaps as high as third.
Defending champions Australia is the favourite to lift the ICC Cricket World Cup for the third successive time and a glance at both the LG ICC ODI Championship table and Player Rankings gives even the most casual observer a clear indication of why Ricky Ponting's men are so highly regarded.
Australia is nine rating points clear of South Africa at the top of the table and is yet to lose a match during its ongoing tri-series against England and New Zealand.
It has already secured a place in the finals of that tournament and its current run of form follows its successes in the Malaysia tri-series and the ICC Champions Trophy.
And while India has four batsmen inside the top 20 places of the player listings, Australia can boast the same number inside the top six positions with Michael Hussey, named ODI Player of the Year at last November's ICC Awards, heading the field.
Below him are Ponting (third), Adam Gilchrist (fifth) and Andrew Symonds (sixth) while yet another Australian player, Michael Clarke, occupies 10th spot.
Hussey is at the peak of his powers at the moment and his current rating of 863 points is the highest by a batsman in this form of the game since Tendulkar's tally of 887 points in 1998.
The top of the LG ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers is also dominated by Australians with Glenn McGrath lying second, Nathan Bracken in fourth place and Brett Lee in fifth spot. That group's monopoly of the leading positions is broken only by South Africa's Shaun Pollock, who heads the list, and Daniel Vettori, with the New Zealand spinner in third place.
For India, Harbhajan Singh is its top-ranked bowler, in 13th spot, while seamer Ajit Agarkar is four places lower and the recently recalled Irfan Pathan is just outside the top 20, in 21st position.
Vettori's lofty placing is his best-ever in the rankings in either form of the game while the good news for the Black Caps continues with the rise of Jacob Oram (53rd) and Brendan McCullum (58th) to their highest placings in the batting list.
The West Indies has three batsmen inside the top 20 - Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul - but only Ian Bradshaw can boast a similar standing among the bowling fraternity.
As for England, the injured Kevin Pietersen (second) is its only representative in the top 20 of either the batting or bowling listings, although Andrew Flintoff is 24th with the ball, 28th in the batting table and remains in third spot among the all-rounders, behind Pollock and Gayle.
The ICC World Cricket League (WCL) is currently taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, with the top six Associates - Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland - battling it out for bragging rights ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup and, for two of the sides, places in the ICC Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa in September.
The WCL is part of a dramatic increase in the number of ODIs played by the leading Associates and that increase has resulted in several players from those sides starting to make an impact in the LG ICC Player Rankings.
Scotland now has a batsman inside the top 100 places with Ryan Watson, who made 80 against Pakistan last July, now occupying 86th position. He is the first Scotland player to make the top 100 since Gavin Hamilton reached 62nd place during the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Just above Watson is Ryan ten Doeschate of the Netherlands (and English county side Essex) and his 84th position is the highest spot ever occupied by a player from his country.
But it is Kenya that has made the early running in the WCL with wins in its first two matches, against Bermuda and the Netherlands, to follow success in a tri-series in Mombasa against Scotland and Canada.
That success has been in part due to the form of seam bowlers Thomas Odoyo and Peter Ongondo and both men are now inside the top 40 places in the bowling list, with Odoyo in 32nd position and Ongondo lying joint 39th.
However, those players are still some way short of the highest position ever occupied by a Kenya bowler. That honour goes to Martin Suji who reached 12th place in 2003 during Kenya's run to the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
For more information, including the upcoming fixtures and how they could affect the LG ODI Championship table, go to

Brian Murgatroyd is ICC Manager - Media and Communications