Ray Price second-best in the world

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Zimbabwe national cricket team off-spinner Raymond Price is now ranked as the second best bowler in the world, according to the latest Reliance International Cricket Council (ICC) Player Rankings for One-Day Internationals (ODIs) released Monday.

According to the ICC the 34-year-old veteran spinner, who like wine is getting better with age, has accumulated 678 rating points and is ranked second behind New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori who has 701 points.

The Reliance ICC Rankings are the official rankings for ICC. Players are rated on a scale of 0 to 1 000 points, depending on the number of wickets taken, runs conceded, the ratings of the batsmen, the bowler would have dismissed at a given time.

If a player’s performance is improving on his past record, his points increase while if his performance is declining his points will go down.

When the rankings were last released in February, Price was ranked fourth but his good performances for Zimbabwe at the just-ended ICC Cricket World Cup saw him move up.

The other Zimbabweans in the top hundred are former captain Prosper Utseya, who maintained his position at number 30 and Graeme Cremer who is ranked 72.
Seamers Christopher Mpofu and Edward Rainsford are ranked 80 and 83 respectively.

Price, who has 89 ODIs, caps and still hoping to add to his 18 Test caps when Zimbabwe re-enters the Test arena later this year, told NewsDay Sport that it had always been his dream to finish his career at the top.

“Obviously you learn more as you get older and I think that has been the case with me and I’m very happy with the way things have been going for me at the moment.

“When I started playing international cricket, one of my goals was to finish at the top and being ranked number two in the world is nice but my goal now is to move up to number one. The busier season ahead will be a good opportunity for us to do well against the top-ranked teams and we have some time to prepare for that,” said Price.

With the conditions in the subcontinent favouring the spinners, Price would occasionally open the bowling for Zimbabwe and still cause a lot of problems for the opposition.

In fact in the first match against Australia, Price and Utseya made it very difficult for the Australia’s free-scoring pair — Shane Watson and Brad Haddin — too quickly than they normally do.

This led to allegations of spot-fixing in the Indian press against Watson and Haddin who were accused of having been paid by Indian bookmakers to slow down the run rate, a claim that was rubbished by the world cricket governing body the ICC.

In fact Watson and Haddin later gave tribute to Price and Zimbabwe spin bowling for a good job and acknowledged that they had made it difficult for them to score quickly.

Although Zimbabwe could not progress beyond the group stages at the World Cup, the spin-bowling department was one of the country’s success stories at the tournament.

Cremer who seems to be learning a lot from his more senior compatriots, Price and Utseya also showed great improvement with both bat and ball.

Opening batsman Brendan Taylor remains Zimbabwe’s highest ranked batsman on number 39 which wicketkeeper batsman Tatenda Taibu in 58th position.