Dubai: India must win the upcoming five-match one-day series against New Zealand if they have to retain their number one status in the ICC team rankings.
India are sitting atop the ICC team rankings table with 120 ratings points, and enter the series leading eighth-ranked New Zealand by 36 ratings points.
If India lose the series, starting on Sunday in Napier, they will lose their numero uno status and as many as six ratings points.
India have been the number-one ranked ODI side since January 2013, when they replaced England at the top.
For New Zealand, a series win against India by any margin will mean that it will push up a place to seventh, ahead of West Indies. A series loss for New Zealand, however, will not make any difference to their position on the rankings table.
If India do not manage to win the series against New Zealand, either Australia or England could stake a claim on the number-one rank.
Australia and England are currently playing a five-match series, with the home team leading 1-0.
Australia are currently in second position, six points behind India. For Australia to reclaim the number-one rank, they needs to beat England in its ongoing series by a margin of 3-2 or better, and they also require New Zealand to beat India by a margin of 3-2 or better.
On the other hand, England, who sit 10 points behind India in third spot, need to beat Australia by a margin of 4-1 or better, and also for New Zealand to win its series against India by a margin of 4-1 or better, to become the number-one ODI side again.
India's young batsman Virat Kohli will start the series in New Zealand as the highest-ranked batsman on either side.
Kohli is currently in second position in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen with 859 ratings points, just 13 behind number-one ranked AB de Villiers.
A good show with the bat for Kohli could see him reclaim the number-one rank he last held in November 2013.
In all, India has three batsmen in the top 10, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in sixth place and Shikhar Dhawan in 10th spot.
Inside the top 20, Ross Taylor in 16th and Rohit Sharma in 18th place are the other batsmen likely to be seen in action.
Outside the top 20, the batsmen likely to play the series are Suresh Raina (22nd), Brendon McCullum (23rd), Martin Guptill (24th) and Kane Williamson (31st).
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja in sixth position will be the highest ranked bowler on either side in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers. In fact, Jadeja is also the only player in the top 10 of the bowlers? table who is likely to feature in the series.
Among the top 20 bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin (16th) and Kyle Mills (17th) are the others likely to feature in the series.
Outside the top 20, the bowlers likely to play are Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (24th), Tim Southee (26th), Nathan McCullum (28th), Mitchell McClenaghan (29th), Amit Mishra (39th), Mohammed Shami (41st) and Ishant Sharma (50th).
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