Dubai, May 6: One month after the conclusion of the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014, action in international cricket resumes this week, with One-Day International (ODI) cricket in focus.
Then on 9 May in Aberdeen, three-time ICC Cricket World Cup finalist England will square-off against Scotland, which qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 by winning the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014 earlier this year in New Zealand.
With just nine months to go before the start of the event, which runs between 14 February and 29 March, these three ODIs mean that the first phase of build-up for all sides has well and truly begun.
While England and Sri Lanka have more to lose, Ireland and Scotland have plenty to gain from their respective series.
Ireland currently sits in 11th place on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings with 34 ratings points, and trails third-ranked Sri Lanka by 78 ratings points. Because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, Ireland will gain points if it wins even one match in the series.
Scotland, currently unranked, has an opportunity to inch closer to getting on to the main rankings table. However, to make that happen, it will have to beat England.
To get on to the main rankings table, Scotland needs to either win two ODIs against Full Members, or achieve one win in an ODI against a Full Member and also win more than 60 per cent of ODIs against other Associates.
ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 5 May before Ireland Vs Sri Lanka and Scotland v England)
Rank Team Rating
1 Australia 115
2 India 112
3 Sri Lanka 111
4 England 110
5 South Africa 109
6 Pakistan 100
7 New Zealand 98
8 West Indies 94
9 Bangladesh 73
10 Zimbabwe 61
11 Ireland 34
12 Afghanistan 34