Gayle blows away the competition

DUBAI, UAE -- West Indies captain Chris Gayle has stormed his way back to the number one place in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen after a series of fine performances against New Zealand.

The 29-year-old Jamaican has gained five places in the rankings to knock India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Australia’s Michael Hussey down to second and third place.

Gayle managed an impressive 135 off 129 balls – including nine fours and five sixes – in the final ODI against New Zealand in Napier and although his side lost the match there was some consolation in his elevation to the position of number-one ODI batsman in the world.

The big left-hander was last ranked number one nearly five years ago (in April 2004) but he has not been out of the top 20 since the middle of 2002.

Gayle’s ascension sees the likes of South Africa’s Graeme Smith and India’s Yuvraj Singh slip down the rankings, with Smith, currently ranked fifth, likely to fall even further with injury forcing him out of the upcoming Australia v South Africa five-match series due to start on Friday 16 January.

However, Hussey has the opportunity to push back up the rankings from third with the upcoming series against South Africa. Also aiming to clamber back up the rankings will be Hussey’s captain, Ricky Ponting, currently occupying seventh position in the table. A return to the top five is not out of the question for the Tasmanian.

South Africa’s AB de Villiers will also be looking to improve his current ranking of 14. The 24-year-old is currently struggling with a bruised hip but will be looking to take part in the first ODI in Melbourne on Friday.

De Villiers’ in-form team-mate Jean-Paul Duminy will also be eyeing a higher spot in the rankings. Duminy, currently ranked 43rd, has had an extremely good run with the bat in Australia and has the potential to climb the rankings in the coming weeks.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has slipped from the number one spot to second. Vettori briefly went top after a good start to the ODI series with the West Indies but his 0-45 in the final match in Napier has meant he has lost his place by the narrowest of margins.

Australia’s Nathan Bracken has replaced Vettori at the top of the rankings and will be looking to strengthen his hold at the head of the table as he prepares for the South Africa series. Bracken and Vettori are only separated by a single point and if Bracken performs well in the coming weeks there is potential for him to further cement his lead.

Meanwhile, Bracken’s team-mate Mitchell Johnson has gained one place to go fourth in the rankings and if he performs well against South Africa he, too, has the opportunity to leapfrog Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralidaran in third place.

It is better news for Muralidaran’s team-mate, Nuwan Kulasekara, who has broken into the top 10 for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old had been playing for his side in the tri-series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe taking 3-13 against Zimbabwe on 12 January in Dhaka and gaining seven places in the process to take sixth spot.

Zimbabwe’s captain Prosper Utseya has returned to the top 20 after taking 2-22 against Bangladesh and 1-28 against Sri Lanka in his side’s recent involvement in the tri-series in Dhaka.

Bangladesh’s Saqibul Hasan has gained four places on the rankings to go 23rd and has a chance to improve his ranking further when the hosts face Sri Lanka in the final match of the series today.

Back in New Zealand, Mark Gillespie has gained 12 places in the rankings to go 37th after taking match figures in the final ODI against the West Indies of 4-58.

Looking ahead to Friday when Australia will face South Africa, the Proteas’ Makhaya Ntini will be hoping to be in the starting line-up at the MCG. The 31-year-old fast bowler is hovering close to the top 20, currently occupying 27th spot in the table. Captain Johan Botha will also be looking to improve on his current ranking of 32nd in the table.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for all-rounders, Gayle has increased his ranking by one to take fourth place, forcing South Africa’s Jacques Kallis into fifth spot.

However, there is no change in the leaders of the all-rounders, with New Zealand’s Jacob Oram in first place and England’s Andrew Flintoff in second.

Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Player Rankings (as of 14 January)

Batsmen

Rank      (Change)               Player   Team     Points    Average                Highest Ranking

1           (+5)         Chris Gayle           WI          783         40.63     804 v Aus at Mumbai 2006

2           (-1)          MS Dhoni              Ind          779         46.84     806 v WI at Kingston 2006

3           (-1)          Mike Hussey        Aus         776         57.13     863 v NZ at Perth 2007

4           ( - )          S.Chanderpaul     WI          769 !      41.14     769 v NZ at Napier 2009

5           (-2)          Graeme Smith      SA           760         40.88     792 v Ban at Dhaka 2008

6           (-1)          Yuvraj Singh        Ind          744         37.16     754 v Eng at Bangalore 2008

7           ( - )          Ricky Ponting       Aus         740         43.24     832 v NZ at Hobart 2007

8           ( - )          Kevin Pietersen    Eng         730         48.36     834 v Aus at Antigua 2007

9           ( - )          Mohd Yousuf       Pak         727         43.19     777 v SA at Rawalpindi 2003

10         ( - )          Andrew Symonds                Aus         719         40.34     778 v Ind at Nagpur 2007

11         ( - )          Matthew Hayden                Aus         711         43.80     854 v Ind at Centurion 2003

12         ( - )          S Tendulkar          Ind          708         44.26     887 v Zim at Sharjah 1998

13         ( - )          R Sarwan              WI          696         44.17     798 v Ind at St Kitts 2006

14         ( - )          AB de Villiers        SA           689         36.40     733 v Ban at Dhaka 2008

15         (+1)         Herschelle Gibbs  SA           682         36.18     750 v SL at Durban 2003

16         (+1)         Jacques Kallis       SA           679         45.27     816 v WI at Johannesburg 2004

17=       (-2)          K Sangakkara      SL           677         35.91     760 v Ind at Rajkot 2007

(+1)         Michael Clarke    Aus         677         42.46     756 v SL at Melbourne 2008

19         ( - )          Shoaib Malik        Pak         674         35.61     690 v WI at Abu Dhabi 2008

20         ( - )          Yunus Khan       Pak         673 !      34.50     673 v WI at Abu Dhabi 2008

 

Bowlers

Rank      (+/-)        Player                   Team     Points    Ave         Econ      HS Rating

1           (+1)         Nathan Bracken  Aus         755         21.87     4.33       806 v SL at St George's 2007

2           (-1)          Daniel Vettori       NZ          754         31.74     4.16       790 v Eng at Christchurch 2008

3           ( - )          M Muralidaran    SL           721          22.60     3.87       913 v NZ at Sharjah 2002

4           (+1)         Mitchell Johnson Aus         707         23.46     4.72       726 v Ban at Darwin 2008

5           (-1)          Kyle Mills              NZ          704         25.90     4.62       713 v WI at Wellington 2009

6           (+7)         N Kulasekara       SL           684*!    27.12     4.23       684 v Zim at Dhaka 2009

7=        (-1)          Stuart Broad         Eng         673         27.58     4.94       701 v SA at Trent Bridge 2008

            (-1)          Sohail Tanvir        Pak         673*!    26.00     4.81       673 v WI at Abu Dhabi 2008

9           ( - )          Andrew Flintoff   Eng         662         24.69     4.38       755 v Ban at Dhaka 2003

10=       (-2)          Jerome Taylor      WI          660         26.26     4.67       688 v SA at Cape Town 2008

            ( - )          Zaheer Khan        Ind          660         28.63     4.84       700 v SA at Dhaka 2003

12         (-1)          Brett Lee               Aus         657         22.96     4.71       853 v SA at Melbourne 2006

13         (-1)          Chaminda Vaas  SL           652         27.54     4.18       861 v SA at Colombo (RPS) 2004

14         ( - )          Jacob Oram          NZ          645         30.25     4.38       768 v Aus at The Oval 2004

15         ( - )          Shahid Afridi        Pak         644         35.04     4.63       685 v Ind at Dhaka 2008

16         ( - )          Andre Nel              SA           638         27.68     4.63       685 v Ban at Dhaka 2008

17         ( - )          Daren Powell        WI          636         31.60     4.70       686 v Aus at St George's 2008

18         ( - )          Stuart Clark          Aus         632*!    27.82     4.90       632 v Ban at Darwin 2008

19         ( - )          Iftikhar Anjum    Pak         626         31.53     4.90       632 v Ban at Karachi 2008

20         (+8)         Prosper Utseya     Zim         618         51.39     4.03       651 v Ban at Harare 2006

All-rounders

Rank      (+/-)        Player                   Team     Points                    HS Rating

1           ( - )          Jacob Oram          NZ          368                        383 v WI at Queenstown 2008

2           ( - )          Andrew Flintoff   Eng         366                        544 v SL at The Rose Bowl 2004

3           ( - )          Shoaib Malik        Pak         342                        402 v WI at Brisbane 2005

4           (+1)         Chris Gayle           WI          336                        511 v Zim at Harare 2003

5           (-1)          Jacques Kallis       SA           327                        505 v WI at Bridgetown 2001

*indicates provisional rating.

indicates career-highest rating