DUBAI: India start their campaign in the Asia Cup, which commences Feb 25 in Dhaka, with an aim to retaining the number-two spot on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings at the April 1 cut-off date.
At number two, India will be the highest ranked side in the five-team tournament, with 115 ratings points, and will contest the tournament that also features fourth-ranked Sri Lanka, sixth-placed Pakistan, ninth-placed Bangladesh and unranked Afghanistan.
The side that finishes top of the ODI rankings table at the April 1 cut-off date will receive a shield and a cheque of US dollars 175,000, while the side that finishes second will receive US dollars 75,000.
India held the number-one rank from January 2013, but ceded the top position to Australia after losing the recent ODI series against New Zealand 0-4.
Australia are now assured of the number-one ranking on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings on the April 1 cut-off date, with 117 ratings points, and will receive the ODI Shield as well as the cheque of $175,000.
Even if India were to win all their matches in the Asia Cup, including the final, they would gain only two ratings points to move to 117, on par with Australia. But when ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point, Michael Clarke's side will be ranked higher.
Therefore, India can at best hope to retain the number-two position at the end of the Asia Cup, but their position will be challenged by fourth-ranked Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka rounded off a three-match series against hosts Bangladesh with a six wickets win Saturday to win the series 3-0.
The clean sweep helped Sri Lanka gain one ratings point to move to 109, on par with England, but when ratings were calculated beyond the decimal point, Angelo Mathews' men were able to move ahead into fourth place.
Sri Lanka can now hope to move ahead of India on the rankings table if they win all their matches in the Asia Cup, including the final. In such a scenario, Sri Lanka will gain three ratings points to finish on 112, one ratings point ahead of India and, therefore, move up two places to second.
But if India win even one of their matches during the tournament, they will hold onto the number-two position, in spite of losing up to three ratings points to finish on 112.