Dubai: India's Virat Kohli, currently second in the International Cricket Council (ICC) One-day International (ODI) rankings, will have his eyes on the top spot, currently held by South African AB de Villiers, when he starts the three-match rubber against England, starting January 15.
The Delhi batsman, who will start his first series as full-time India skipper succeeding Mahendra Singh Dhoni, trails de Villiers by 13 points. Kohli, on the other hand, will be chased by swashbuckling Australian opener David Warner, who sits at No.3 and narrowly trails the India star by just two points.
In the team rankings, third-placed India will have an opportunity to narrow the gap with second-ranked South Africa, when the men-in-blue takes on fifth-ranked England. Australia lead the team rankings.
With 111 points in their kitty, India can rise up to 114 points and trail the Proteas by just two points in case they manage to whitewash Eoin Morgan's side. However, if England manage a clean sweep of India, they can move up to the fourth and push Kohli's boys to the fifth spot.
Pakistan, meanwhile, will need to win at least one game in their five-match rubber against Australia, starting on Friday, to keep themselves in the hunt for an automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England.
The green brigade are currently in the eighth position on 89 points, three behind Bangladesh and three ahead of the West Indies. Hosts England and the seven highest-ranked sides on the ICC ODI Team Rankings as on September 30, 2017, will qualify directly for the 2019 World Cup, to be held from May 30 to July 15.
The four bottom-ranked sides will be joined by six teams from the ICC World Cricket League in the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 and the top two sides will complete the 10-team World Cup line-up.