India speedy Mohammed Siraj has capped off an outstanding 12 months by claiming the number 1 spot on the MRF Tires ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings for bowlers from New Zealand sailor Trent Boult.
It is a remarkable rise for Siraj, who only returned to India’s ODI line-up in February last year after a three-year hiatus without playing a 50-over match at 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 are starting to pile up 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 arm had another reason to celebrate as he passed Boult and Australia sailor Josh Hazlewood to become the top ranked ODI bowler for the first time ever. become. .
Not only has Siraj’s form over the last 12 months been imperious, but his efforts in the ODI series at home earlier this month against Sri Lanka and New Zealand have shown just how much the right arm has improved in recent times.
Indian bowling coach Paras Mhambrey challenged Siraj midway through last year to work on certain aspects of his game and the extra training the energetic fast has given has paid off, judged by recent performances.
Siraj took nine wickets against Sri Lanka to become the leading wicket taker for the three match 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 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 whitewash over New Zealand soon after the series.
“He has done very well, he understands what the team expects of him,” said Rohit.
“To come and get the new ball, swing the ball, get early wickets. He has so much skill in the middle overs too.
“The more he plays, the better he gets.”
Fellow Indian pacer Mohammed Shami jumps 11 places to 32nd overall on the updated list for ODI bowlers as there is significant movement at the top of the batsman’s rankings following the completion of India’s home series against the Kiwis.
Pakistani skipper Babar Azam still has a healthy lead at the top of the ODI batsman rankings, but there are now a total of three Indian players in the top 10 in the hunt for top honours.
In form opener Shubman Gill is the eye catcher as the right-hander jumps a whopping 20 places to sixth after a brilliant double hundred and a century at home against New Zealand.
Gill moves up ahead of veteran Virat Kohli in seventh, while Rohit moves up two places to eighth after his quickfire hundred against the Kiwis in Indore.
There wasn’t too much joy for New Zealand after they lost the series 3-0 to India and relinquished the No. 1 ODI team ranking, but Devon Conway improved 13 places to 37th overall on the batting list after his great century in the last game of the series.
The series between Ireland and Zimbabwe has also recently been completed and some players in form were rewarded in the latest rankings update.
Irish youngster Harry Tector jumps 12 spots to 13th overall on the batting list, while pacer Josh Little improves 27 spots and equals 33rd on the bowlers list, capping off a stellar 12 months for the left armer.