A roster of those who enjoyed the shortest stints at the top in various sports
Viswanathan Anand: Currently world No. 1, Anand’s route to the top was not without its share of drama. In the last ranking list released by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the Indian GM was second despite winning the Morelia-Linares tournament last month. That win should have catapulted Anand to the top, ahead of Bulgarian Veselin Topalov. However, in a bizarre twist, FIDE decided to overlook Anand’s win and still placed him at number two. Pressure from the Indian Federation and cries of ‘double standard’ saw Anand getting his rightful top billing.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Those were the days! Dhoni was belting bowlers all over the park and India were winning matches. The swashbuckling Jharkhand ’keeper made it a habit of finishing matches with lusty blows at the death. His alarming strike-rate propelled Dhoni to the number one spot in the ICC ODI batsmen charts on April 21, 2006. He, however, didn’t last long at the top. A subsequent slump — which is still on — pushed him down to fifth.
Marcelo Rios: In March 1998, the fiery Chilean was on top of the tennis charts for 28 days, after which he was overthrown by Pete Sampras. Rios never won a grand slam, but a string of wins in the Masters Series around that time took him to the top. He was No. 1 again in August ’98, just for a week. His last available ranking: 994 in 2005!
The South African cricket team: The Oz Empire has been invaded. After four years at the top, Australia were finally pushed to second spot by South Africa in February 2007. To add to the thrill of this rather unexpected triumph, the South Africans, by virtue of having been on top on the annual cut-off date, have been crowned ‘ODI Champions’. Talk about having your cake and eating it too! Australia are on top throughout the year, but South Africa take the crown. This rivalry is far from over.
Italy in football: Riding high on their 2006 World Cup triumph, the Azzurri were the new world No. 1. That fairytale, however, lasted only for a month. After a less than impressive start to Italy’s qualification campaign for the European Championships, Argentina overthrew the world champions and became the new No. 1 team.