India moves to third in ICC ODI Championship

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Dubai, Nov 18 (UNI) India has moved up two places from fifth to third position in the ICC ODI Championship table after beating England in the opening two matches of the ongoing seven-ODI series.

England now sits in sixth position having slipped from third following the two comprehensive defeats. Having lost three rating points, they are just behind New Zealand by a fraction of a point.

There are now just two ratings points separating India in third position from England in sixth with South Africa just another four points ahead. Australia is still out in front, some 12 ratings points clear of the Proteas.

However, with five matches still remaining in the series and the ODI Championship ladder very closely packed, there is plenty of time for Kevin Pietersen and his men to make amends.

On the other hand, if India can continue the way it is going, it can go second in the ladder by the end of the series.

Meanwhile, India's players are already reaping the rewards of their early success in the series. Yuvraj Singh, who scored centuries in both matches, has shot up the Player Rankings for ODI bowlers. The 26-year-old has gained no fewer than 11 places and now sits in sixth position as he enjoys the highest rating of his career to date.

England's Andrew Flintoff loses five places to 13th position in the bowling rankings after taking just one wicket in the first two matches of the series at a cost of 116 runs and an economy rate of 6.10.

The batting rankings are still headed by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni followed by Australia's Michael Hussey in second place and Graeme Smith of South Africa in third.

Pakistan is the other big mover this week as Shoaib Malik's team has moved up two places to fourth following its 3-0 series win against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi.

Despite losing its series with Pakistan, West Indies' batsmen have made big improvements in the latest rankings. Chris Gayle, who scored two typically entertaining hundreds in the three-match series, gained six places into fifth position while ICC Cricketer of the Year 2008 Shivnarine Chanderpaul is just ahead of him having jumped two places to fourth.

Ramnaresh Sarwan also had a good series with the bat and has jumped seven places to 13th in the list.

Australian captain and former number-one batsman Ricky Ponting is the one to lose out in the top five as he is overtaken by Yuvraj, Gayle and Chanderpaul.

Meanwhile, there are a number of batsmen hovering on the cusp of the top 20 after recent matches. Yunus Khan of Pakistan has gained four places to 21st position and now has the highest rating of his career so far while India's Gautam Gambhir has also progressed four spots and now sits just behind Younus in 22nd place.

Also for Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq moves up 10 places to 31st position while wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal gains nine places to 51st position after his heroics with the bat in Abu Dhabi.

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