India quick Mohammed Siraj has capped off a superb 12 months by claiming the No.1 spot on the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings for bowlers from New Zealand seamer Trent Boult.
It’s a remarkable rise for Siraj, who only returned to India’s ODI setup in February last year following a three-year hiatus without playing a 50-over match at the international level.
Since then Siraj has collected 37 wickets from 20 matches to be one of India’s most consistent fast bowlers and the accolades have started to pile in for the underrated 28-year-old.
On Tuesday, Siraj was named in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year and on Wednesday the right-armer had another reason to celebrate as he went past Boult and Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood to become the top-ranked ODI bowler for the very first time.
Not only has Siraj’s form over the last 12 months been imperious, but his efforts in ODI series at home earlier this month against Sri Lanka and New Zealand has shown just how much the right-armer has improved in recent times.
India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey challenged Siraj to work on certain aspects of his game in the middle of last year and the extra training the energetic quick has put in has paid off in spades judged on recent performances.
Siraj took nine wickets against Sri Lanka to be the leading wicket-taker for the three-game series and backed that up by claiming a four-wicket haul in the opening match of the recently-completed series against New Zealand.
It means Siraj jumps to the top of the ODI bowler rankings with 729 rating points, albeit narrowly, with his lead at the top over Hazlewood just two rating points higher than the Australian.
India captain Rohit Sharma was full of praise for Siraj when asked about the emerging quick following the series whitewash over New Zealand.
“He has done really well, he understands what the team is expecting from him,” Rohit said.
“To come and take the new ball, swing the ball, get early wickets. In the middle overs too, he’s got so much skill.
“The more he plays, the better he gets.”
Fellow India pacer Mohammed Shami jumps 11 places to 32nd overall on the updated list for ODI bowlers, while there is plenty of movement at the top of the batter rankings following the completion of India’s home series against the Kiwis.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam still enjoys a healthy lead at the top of the ODI batter rankings, but there is now a total of three India players inside the top 10 and chasing the highest accolade.
In-form opener Shubman Gill is the eye-catcher as the right-hander jumps a whopping 20 places to sixth overall following a brilliant double hundred and a century against New Zealand at home.
Gill rises in front of veteran Virat Kohli in seventh, while Rohit jumps two places to equal eighth after his quickfire hundred against the Kiwis in Indore.
There wasn’t too much joy for New Zealand after they lost the series to India 3-0 and relinquished the No.1 ODI team ranking, but Devon Conway improved 13 spots to 37th overall on the list for batters after his superb century in the final game of the series.
The series between Ireland and Zimbabwe was also recently completed and some in-form players were rewarded on the latest rankings update.
Ireland young gun Harry Tector jumps 12 places to 13th overall on the list for batters, while pacer Josh Little improves 27 places to equal 33rd on the bowlers’ list to cap off a tremendous 12 months for the left-armer.