Mohammed Siraj has reclaimed the coveted No.1 position in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Bowling Rankings after the spell-binding show in the final of the Asia Cup. His awe-inspiring performance against Sri Lanka catapulted him back to the summit of the rankings, a spot he last occupied in March 2023 before being edged out by Josh Hazlewood.
Siraj's remarkable display in the Asia Cup final sent shockwaves through the cricketing world. With an astonishing spell of 6 for 21, he orchestrated the decimation of the Sri Lankan batting lineup, restricting them to a mere 50 runs. This remarkable performance featured a four-wicket over, a feat achieved only three times before in the history of men's ODIs. He also took five wickets in 16 balls, making it a record for the joint-quickest five-wicket haul in ODIs.
How Mohammed Siraj got to the top
The 27-year-old's remarkable Asia Cup campaign saw him clinch a total of 10 wickets at a jaw-dropping average of 12.20, further solidifying his reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the world of ODI cricket. This astonishing achievement allowed him to surge eight places in the latest ICC rankings update, overtaking the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Trent Boult, Rashid Khan, and Mitchell Starc.
What truly set Siraj's performance apart in the Asia Cup final was his ability to extract swing, primarily away from the right-handed batters, and his raw pace, all of which were complemented by overcast conditions. His strategy was to make the batsmen play as much as possible, and it paid dividends as the edges kept flowing.
In an interview following his incredible feat, Siraj emphasized the importance of simplicity and executing his line and length effectively. He credited the favorable conditions for his success but also acknowledged the unpredictability of the game, stating, “you only get what is in your destiny, not more, however hard you try.”
While Siraj's resurgence to the top spot is undoubtedly the headline news, other bowlers have also seen notable shifts in their rankings. The Afghan spin duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan have climbed to No.4 and No.5, respectively, bolstered by their performances in the Asia Cup.
South Africa's Keshav Maharaj, who played a pivotal role in his team's remarkable comeback in a five-match ODI series against Australia, has surged to the 15th position in the rankings, marking a remarkable ten-place improvement from his previous career-high.
In the batting department, South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen and England's Dawid Malan have also made significant strides. Klaasen's explosive 174 at a strike rate of 209.64 against Australia propelled him to the ninth spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Batting Rankings. Meanwhile, Dawid Malan's outstanding performance in England's ODI series against New Zealand has earned him a career-best 13th place in the rankings.
It's important to note that Ben Stokes, making a triumphant return to ODI cricket with a blistering 182, has surged to the 36th position in the ODI Batting Rankings.
As the dust settles on a thrilling Asia Cup and the rankings reflect the outstanding performances witnessed in the tournament, Mohammed Siraj's remarkable journey back to the No.1 spot stands out as a testament to his dedication and skill. His resurgence is a story of determination, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to his craft. Cricket fans around the world will undoubtedly be eager to see if Siraj can maintain his stellar form and continue to lead the way in the world of ODI bowling.