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Groin injury could cost Tendulkar top position

Skipping the B'desh tri-series and Asia Cup will severely hamper second placed Tendulkar's chances to clinch back the top-position in ICC rankings.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Dubai
UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2008 05:58 PM IST

Skipping the tri-series in Bangladesh and subsequent Asia Cup in Pakistan will severely hamper second-placed Sachin Tendulkar's chances to clinch back the top-position in the ICC Player Rankings for the ODI batsmen.

Tendulkar, who conceded the spot to South Africa's Graeme Smith in April, may even fall below third-placed Ricky Ponting of Australia followed by Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf, if the two batsmen strike gold in their respective series. Only 14 ratings points separate Tendulkar(777) from Yousuf.

Tendulkar is nursing a groin injury, which he suffered during the Test series against South Africa and missed first seven matches of the Indian Premier League.

However, there is a good opportunity for Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Yuvraj Singh to gain some places in the batting chart.

A string of good performances can help Dhoni break into the top-five as he trails fifth-placed Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies and Matthew Hayden of Australia by 12 ratings points.

Yuvraj can overtake 14th-placed Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka, who leads the India vice-captain by seven points.

In the Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, Pakistan's Shahid Afridi in 10th position is the highest-ranked bowler amongst the three participating team. Banned Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is at 18th place but he has not been selected for the event.

India's highest-ranked bowler in Harbhajan's absence is Irfan Pathan in 38th place while Sreesanth (49th), RP Singh (66th), Piyush Chawla (101st) and Ishant Sharma (106th) will also be hoping for an upward movement.

Among all-rounders, Pakistan duo of Shoaib and Shahid occupy the top-two places with only five ratings points separating them.

Among the teams, India can move into third place if it remains unbeaten in the tri-nation series involving Pakistan and host Bangladesh starting in Dhaka from Sunday.

Currently on same ratings points as New Zealand (113) but behind the Black Caps when ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point, India can take a two-point lead over Daniel Vettori's side if it wins the two league matches and then the final on 14 June.

However, if Pakistan wins both its league matches and the final, it will leapfrog India to share third position with New Zealand on 113 ratings points but behind the Black Caps by a fraction of a point with India dropping to fifth position on 111 ratings points.

At the top of the table South Africa leads Australia by a fraction of a ratings point. However, Australia could regain the top position as it goes head-to-head with the West Indies in a five-match series from 24 June while South Africa's ODI series against England will not start until 22 August.

With just eight ratings points separating New Zealand in third position and England in seventh, the table is very congested and there is plenty of scope for the situation to change over the coming weeks and months as no less than 45 ODIs will be played in the lead-up to the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan in September.

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