ISLAMABAD: South Africa batsman AB de Villiers has once again grabbed the top position in the ICC ODI Player Rankings while Pakistan’s Hasan Ali has emerged as a new number one among bowlers in the latest ranking on Friday. Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez is also back as the top all-rounder, edging Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan. Hafeez, who first attained top ranking in January 2013, has reached the top spot for the ninth time. Hasan’s rise up the bowling rankings has been a stunning story as well. He is the highest wicket-taker in 2017, he was Player of the Series in the ICC Champions Trophy and he became the fastest Pakistan bowler to 50 ODI wickets – beating the legendary Waqar Younis. The No. 1 spot – he climbed six places – comes as icing on a very large cake. An astonishing knock of 176 by de Villiers in the second ODI against Bangladesh in Paarl, which consisted of 15 fours and seven sixes and came off only 104 balls, has also helped South Africa edge out India at the top of the ICC ODI Team Rankings by taking a 2-0 winning lead in the three-match series. The latest rankings, which take into account the first two matches of the South Africa-Bangladesh series and the first three matches of the ongoing Pakistan-Sri Lanka series in the United Arab Emirates, sees de Villiers climb to the top of the ODI table for the 14th time in his career. De Villiers, who has leapfrogged Australian David Warner and India captain Virat Kohli, had first attained top position on May 30, 2010 and the number of days he has spent at the top is second most after retired Windies great Vivian Richards. De Villiers has now been at the top for 2,124 days while Richards was number one for 2,306 days. Other batsmen to move up include Pakistan’s Babar Azam (up two places to a career-best fourth position), the South African pair of Quinton de Kock (up three places to fifth) and Hashim Amla (up two places to ninth), and Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim (up five places to 18th). Among bowlers, Hasan’s haul of five for 34 in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, which his team won by seven wickets for a decisive 3-0 lead in the five-match series, has given the pace bowler a big boost in ranking points. The 23-year-old, who has taken nine wickets in the series so far, has moved up six places to become the fifth bowler at the top of the ODI rankings this year after Trent Boult, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada and Josh Hazlewood. Outside of the top 20, Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal (up three places to 36th), South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo (up 30 places to 52nd) and Bangladesh’s Rubel Hossain (up seven places to 61st) are the other bowlers to move northwards. Meanwhile, India will be looking to wrest back the top spot in the team rankings when they take on New Zealand in an upcoming three-match series. South Africa and India are both on 120 points with South Africa ahead on decimal points. South Africa can reach 121 points if they complete a 3-0 series win over Bangladesh but India will overtake them if they win the opening match against New Zealand, to be played the same day as the last South Africa-Bangladesh match, on 22 October. If India win that match, they too will be on 121 points but ahead in decimal-point calculation. However, India will have to win the series against New Zealand 3-0 to retain the top spot should South Africa win the last match against Bangladesh. Published in Daily Times, October 21st 2017.