NELSON Mandela Bay cricket ace Lonwabo Tsotsobe has been named as one of the top 10 bowlers in the world.
Lopsy, as he is affectionately known by his team-mates, was handed the timely boost on the eve of South Africa‘s departure for the ICC World Cup yesterday.
The tall Warriors left-arm seamer was named in the top 10 of the latest ICC Reliance ODI rankings released yesterday.
Tsotsobe has climbed 38 places into 10th position, a sizeable vault rarely achieved in international cricket. While Tsotsobe, 26, could not be reached for comment on his achievement yesterday, as the Proteas were en route to India, his elevation is hardly surprising after his back-to-back four-wicket hauls against India in the recent ODI series against India.
The former Westering High schoolboy is averaging two wickets per match in his fledgling international career. His career average of 19.91 is the best of all the top 10 bowlers.
For the first time ever, the Proteas have three batsmen as well as three bowlers ranked in the world top 10.
Hashim Amla remains the world‘s No1 ODI batsman by a comfortable distance. He is 105 points ahead of his second-ranked team-mate, AB de Villiers, who is tied with India‘s Virat Kohli, and is only 11 points shy of the elite ranking of 900 points.
Jacques Kallis has dropped one place to No8 on the rankings list after being unable to play in the series against India because of injury.
Graeme Smith (16) and JP Duminy (17) are also ranked in the top 20. Duminy has improved by eight places following a successful series against India which saw him achieve a career-best ranking after the fourth ODI at Axxess St George‘s.
But it is in the bowling rankings that the Proteas have really taken off. Morne Morkel, the Man of the Series against India, is now ranked No2 (behind Daniel Vettori of New Zealand), Dale Steyn is No8 and Tsotsobe No10.
Both Morkel (704) and Tsotsobe (644) achieved career-best rankings in the series against India. Morkel lifted his ranking by 10 places and Steyn his by nine. Kallis remains the No4-ranked ODI all-rounder.
These achievements follow the Proteas‘ successes in the most recent Test match rankings where Steyn is the No1-ranked bowler and Kallis the joint No1-ranked batsman and the No1 all-rounder.
The World Cup, to be played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, starts on February 19. – Additional reporting by Sapa