Dubai: India can inch towards regaining the top spot by narrowing the gap with current numero uno England in the ICC rankings if they manage to beat Australia in the four-Test series starting on Monday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side currently sits in second place on 118 ratings points, seven behind Andrew Strauss' team, while Michael Clarke's men are in fourth position on 103 ratings points.
Third-ranked South Africa, who lead the sixth-ranked Sri Lanka 1-0 in a three-Test series, are on 116 ratings points, the ICC said in a statement.
As such, shuffling of the pack in the middle of the championship table could be on the cards, depending on how the series Down Under (which finishes on January 28) and in South Africa (which finishes on January 7) pans out.
If Australia win all the four Tests, they will jump to 111 ratings points and India will drop to 111 ratings but will still be ranked above Australia by a fraction of a point.
In case of a 3-1 win for Australia, the home side will rise to 108 ratings points and India will drop to 113 ratings points whereas a 2-2 draw will mean Australia will gain two ratings points and India will drop two ratings points.
In a sharp contrast, if India make a sweep of the series, they will move to 122 ratings points and will narrow the gap with England to just three points.
A 3-1 victory for India will put them on 120 ratings points, dropping Australia to 101 ratings points, whereas a 2-1 series win will earn Dhoni's side one ratings point.
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, India's iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who is one short of becoming the first batsman to score 100 international centuries, is the highest-ranked batsman from either side in sixth position.
The 38-year-old from Mumbai trails Pakistan's Younis Khan by four ratings points.
India also boasts Rahul Dravid (9th), VVS Laxman (14th) and Virender Sehwag (19th) inside the top 20 while Michael Hussey and Clarke are the only two Australia batsmen inside the top 20 in 17th and 18th positions, respectively.
Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan is sixth in the rankings for bowlers, while Australia's pace head Peter Siddle is in 12th position.
Ishant Sharma, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ravichandran Ashwin, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon are the other bowlers sitting inside the top 50 and hoping to improve their rankings.