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ICC rankings: Babar Azam retains top spot

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has managed to hang on to his mantle as the No.1 ranked T20I batter despite the Indian cricketers made giant strides on the latest ICC Men’s Player Rankings.

India cruised to a 4-1 series triumph in the recently-completed T20I series against the West Indies and a bevy of their best performers cut into Babar’s lead at the top of the batter rankings.

The ICC released the latest set of rankings on Wednesday and Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant were among the biggest movers as the race for the top ranking hots up ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Iyer hit an impressive half-century during the fifth and final match of the series in Florida and was duly rewarded by jumping six places to 19th overall on the batter rankings.

Pant finished the series as the equal second leading run-scorer on 115 runs, with his quickfire 44 in the fourth match seeing the left-hander jump seven places to 59th.

Emerging opener Suryakumar Yadav was the leading run-scorer during the series with 135 runs, but the decision to rest him for the final match meant he missed out on the chance to overtake Babar at the head of proceedings.

Yadav remains in second place on the T20I rankings, with Babar now holding a lead of 13 rating points ahead of the eagerly awaited meeting between India and Pakistan at the Asia Cup in Dubai later this month.

The series against West Indies also saw a group of India’s bowlers rewarded with big moves up the latest T20I rankings for bowlers.

Young spinner Ravi Bishnoi was India’s leading wicket-taker during the series with eight scalps and that helped the 21-year-old jump 50 places to 44th overall on the most recent list for bowlers.

Team-mates Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav were also big movers, while veteran quick Bhuvneshwar Kumar dropped one place to ninth after just three wickets during the West Indies series.

Meanwhile, Azam extended his lead at the top of the ICC T20I Rankings with the Pakistan captain retaining his rating points of 818.