Smith replaces Tendulkar at top in ICC ODI rankings

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Dubai, Mar 15 (UNI) South African skipper Graeme Smith has toppled top spot of the LG ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen from master blaster Sachin Tendulkar after a magnificent performance in the series against Bangladesh which concluded in Dhaka today.

Tendulkar's reign at the top of the batting charts lasted less than two weeks. The 35-year-old little master had stormed to the top of the batting charts following his match-winning performances in the recent tri-series finals against Australia. He had scored 117 not out and 91 in Sydney and Brisbane respectively to push Ponting into second place.

Smith required a career-best rating to grab the coveted spot after starting the series on 753 points and in third place behind Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. However, his series effort of 199 runs not only won him the Player of the Series award but also earned him 39 ratings points which were enough for him to leapfrog his two closest rivals into top spot.

Smith's top place in the ODI rankings is backed up by his 14th place in the Test rankings which is evidence of the fine form he takes to India for the three-Test series starting in Chennai on 26 March.

With only 22 ratings points separating top placed Smith from third-placed Ponting, the positions are unlikely to change for another couple of months before Australia goes head-to-head with the West Indies in the five-match ODI starting in Kingston from 21 June.

Another South African, AB de Villiers, also achieved his career-best ranking and broke into the top 10 for the first time. De Villiers jumped six places to ninth position after finishing as the second leading run-getter in the series with 109 runs for which he earned 27 ratings points.

Herschelle Gibbs, however, failed to retain his place and dropped out of the top 10 after losing three places. Gibbs scored 70 runs in three matches.

In the LG ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, South Africa's Andre Nel achieved a career-best ranking to enter the top 10 for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old pacer claimed seven wickets in the series to jump 10 places to sixth position.

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