Cardiff (United Kingdom), June 3 (ANI): India cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday received the prestigious Reliance ICC ODI championship shield and a cheque of US$175,000 for leading his side to the top of the Reliance ICC ODI championship table on the annual April 1 cut-off date.
Dhoni on his part expressed his delight to receive this shield from former International Cricket Council (ICC) President David Morgan.
"I am very proud of this huge achievement, as being number-one is a reward for all of us, but hopefully it is just the beginning. You have to be consistent to be ranked number-one and I think we have reached that level of consistency over a period of time. We have performed very well and I am very proud of what the guys have achieved," said Dhoni.
"Being number-one in the world brings with it a certain respect for the game itself and for the way in which we play the game and conduct ourselves on the field," he added.
This is the first time since the current ranking system was introduced in 2002 that India has finished as the number-one ranked ODI side on the 1 April cut-off date.
India had claimed the number-one spot from England after winning the series 3-2 in January, and, in the 12-month period between 1 April 2012 and 1 April 2013, it won eight out of 13 ODIs while losing five ODIs.
David Morgan on his part said the ODI Shield is recognition of excellence.
" This is the first time that India has been the top ODI side at the 1 April cut-off date. I want to congratulate India for its dedication and for the ability to entertain us all. I wish the team all the best for the coming year," said Morgan.
"The importance of the Reliance ICC ODI Shield should be celebrated as this is the ICC Cricket World Cup format. To finish as the number-one ranked ODI side in addition to being the defending champion of ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, is a wonderful achievement," he added.
Morgan further said he is confident that Team India will be looking forward to maintaining its rank at the top of this format
"India will no doubt, therefore, enter the ICC Champions Trophy as one of the sides to watch out for. There could not have been a better fillip for India as it heads into the tournament featuring the eight best ODI sides. I'm sure that Mahendra and his team will be looking forward to maintaining their rank at the top of this format," he said.
Gurdeep Singh, President and CEO, Wireless Business, Reliance Communications, congratulated
Dhoni and his boys for claiming the number-one slot on the Reliance ICC ODI championship table.
"The team has put in tremendous effort to succeed in this format of the game and gain the top position in the rankings. Reliance Group wishes the Indian team the very best for the ICC Champions Trophy, and we look forward to other teams coming back strong, making the Reliance ICC ODI Championship Table even more competitive and entertaining," he said.
Reliance ICC ODI Championship table (as on 2 June, after second ODI between England and New Zealand):
Rank Team Points
1. India 119
2. Australia 116
3. South Africa 113
4. England 112
5. Sri Lanka 108
6. Pakistan 105
7. New Zealand 88
8. West Indies 86
9. Bangladesh 75
10. Zimbabwe 55
11. Ireland 39
12. Netherlands 14
13. Kenya 11 (ANI)