Babar Azam closes in on reclaiming top ODI batting spot

Pakistan batter, Babar Azam, is only three rating points away from reclaiming the number spot in the ICC Men’s ODI batting rankings

Currently, Shubman Gill (826 points) continues to lead the way in the batting rankings after dethroning Babar Azam (824 points).

India’s batting lynchpins Virat Kohli (791 points) and Rohit Sharma (769 points) occupy 3rd and 4th spots respectively, with the India duo rising one spot each in the latest update on Wednesday.

Kohli scored a tournament best 765 runs during the recent ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and that helped the in-form right-hander jump one place to third on the latest rankings and within just 35 rating points of teammate Shubman Gill.

Kohli reached triple figures on three occasions at the World Cup to break the record of former teammate Sachin Tendulkar for most ODI centuries, while Rohit smashed 597 runs as the India duo finished the tournament as the two leading run scorers.

With Gill managing a reasonable output of 354 runs during the event and Babar just 320 runs as Pakistan failed to reach the knockout stages of the tournament, it paved the way for Kohli and Rohit to make their run on the top ranking.

Kohli famously held the No.1 ranking for a total of 1258 consecutive days during a reign of almost four years between 2017 and 2021, with Babar spending the majority of time in the premier position in recent years until Gill claimed top billing during the World Cup.

The rise of the India duo means South Africa opener Quinton de Kock drops two spots to fifth on the ODI batter rankings, with New Zealand right-hander Daryl Mitchell rising five spots to sixth on the back of his 552 runs at the World Cup.

The biggest eye-catcher on the updated ODI batter rankings is Travis Head, with the Australia opener jumping a massive 28 places to 15th overall after his brilliant century and Player of the Match performance in the World Cup final.

South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj remains on top on the updated ODI bowler rankings, with a host of Australia players making some good ground after their successful World Cup campaign.

Experienced seamer Josh Hazlewood rises four places to second overall, fellow quick Mitchell Starc jumps eight spots to 12th, while skipper Pat Cummins improves seven rungs to 27th.

India pair Mohammed Siraj (third) and Jasprit Bumrah (fourth) remain firmly nestled within the top 10 for ODI bowlers, while teammate Kuldeep Yadav drops one spot to equal sixth.

Meanwhile, Shaheen Afridi, who was previously ranked number 10th, improved his ranking by one rank and is now in the ninth spot.

There isn’t much change inside the top 10 of the ODI rankings for all-rounders at the completion of the World Cup, with Bangladesh veteran Shakib Al Hasan maintaining a healthy lead at the head of proceedings.