$750,000, rise in rankings in India's sight
The Test championship mace is out of their reach but a plump prize purse of $750,000 is at stake when India will take on Australia and England clash with New Zealand in their respective series in days ahead.
South Africa are assured of top place and a prize money of $450,000 at the 1 April cut-off date but a further $750,000 will be distributed among the teams finishing second ($350,000), third ($250,000)and fourth ($150,000).
Australia are currently ranked third and lead fifth-ranked India by 12 ratings points. However, this could potentially change, depending how the series, beginning tomorrow in Chennai, pans out.
India can move ahead of Pakistan and finish in fourth position if it wins the series by 1-0 or better. To move ahead of Australia, India will need to win all the four Tests of the series.
To be guaranteed second position on the table, Australia need to win the series 2-0 or better. If Australia wins 2-0 and England beats New Zealand 3-0, then both Australia and England will be locked at 119 ratings points but Australia will be ranked above England when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.England-New Zealand three-Test series will begin on March 6 in Dunedin.
Image: MS Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher
Clarke in second position among batsmen
Meanwhile, both India and Australia boast only one batsman each inside the top 20 of the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.
Australia captain Michael Clarke is occupying second position -- six ratings points behind South Africa's Hashim Amla -- while India's Sachin Tendulkar is in 20th spot.
Batsmen aiming to break into the top 20 or improve their rankings include Virender Sehwag (22nd), Cheteshwar Pujara (24th), David Warner (25th), Virat Kohli (25th), Shane Watson and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (joint 36th), Phillip Hughes (44th), Ed Cowan (45th), Ravichandran Ashwin (46th) and Matthew Wade (51st).
Image: Michael Clarke
S African paceman lead bowlers' list
In the Player Rankings for Test bowlers, Australia's Peter Siddle is the highest-ranked bowler in fifth position, with fellow paceman Mitchell Johnson in 18th. For India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha is in eighth spot and his fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is in 20th place.
Bowlers eyeing upward movement include Harbhajan Singh and Nathan Lyon (joint 25th), Ishant Sharma (32nd), James Pattinson (34th) and Mitchell Starc (40th).
The top two positions in the bowlers' list are occupied by South Africa's Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander while Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal is in third position.
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders, third-ranked Shane Watson is only the player from either side in top five. The list is headed by Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan with Jacques Kallis second.
The player rankings will now be updated at the conclusion of Centurion and Chennai Tests.
Image: Vernon Philander