England and Sri Lanka will go head-to-head in a five-ODI series from Thursday in London with the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings all set to change.
With 21 ratings points separating number-one ranked Australia from eighth-ranked West Indies, irrespective of the outcome of the series, both third-ranked Sri Lanka and fourth-ranked England will make a move on the rankings table.
Amongst other scenarios, there is a possibility of either side topping the table. But to make that happen, England or Sri Lanka will have to sweep the series. While the side that wins all five matches will finish on top of the tree, the side on the receiving end will end up in fifth position.
So tight is the situation in the upper half of the table, that even a 3-2 series win will mean movement for both sides.
If England wins 3-2, then the two sides will swap places. However, if the series result is reversed, then Sri Lanka will move into second position and England will fall behind South Africa into fifth place.
If England wins 4-1, then Alastair Cook’s side will move into second position and Angelo Mathews’ side will drop to fifth spot. In contrast, if Sri Lanka wins 4-1, then it will move ahead of India into second position, while England will retain fourth spot.
While the two sides will have one eye on the ODI table, they will also be focused on preparing for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, which gets underway in Australia and New Zealand on 14 February 2015. This series will provide both sides the opportunity to try different combinations, so that they are in the best shape when they arrive Down Under for ICC’s marquee limited-overs tournaments.
Three-time runner-up (1979, 1987 and 1992) England and Sri Lanka, the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996 champion, are in Group A of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and will clash in Wellington on 1 March.
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Rankings Table, please click here. The ODI and T20I Rankings tables, unlike the Test Rankings Table, are updated after every match.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara goes in to the series as the highest ranked batsman on either side – in fifth place on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen.
Another Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan in ninth position is the only other batsman within the top 10 likely to feature in the series.
Outside the top 10, the only other batsmen likely to feature in the series are England’s duo of Eoin Morgan (14th) and Alastair Cook (19th).
England pacer James Anderson starts the series as the highest ranked bowler in seventh position on either side on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI Bowlers. Anderson is the only bowler inside the top 10 likely to feature in the series.
The only other bowler inside the top 20 to feature in the series is Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews in 20th position.
(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)