Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday said that the No.1 ranking in the ODIs brings with it certain respect in the way the players “conduct themselves” on the field.

“Being No. 1 in the world brings with it a certain respect for the game itself and for the way in which we play the game and conduct ourselves on the field,” Dhoni said after winning the ICC ODI Shield. In a simple ceremony here, former ICC president David Morgan presented Dhoni a silver salver and a cheque for $175,000.

“I am very proud of this huge achievement, as being No. 1 is a reward for all of us, but hopefully it is just the beginning.

“You have to be consistent to be ranked No.1 and I think we have reached that level of consistency over a period of time. We have performed very well and I am very proud of what the guys have achieved,” said Dhoni. This is the first time since the current ranking system was introduced in 2002 that India has finished as the No.1 ranked ODI side on April 1 cut-off date.

India had claimed the spot from England after winning the series 3-2 in January, and, in the 12-month period between April 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013, India won eight out of 13 ODIs while losing five ODIs.

Morgan said, “This ODI Shield is recognition of excellence. This is the first time that India has been the top ODI side at the 1 April cut-off date. I want to congratulate India for its dedication and for the ability to entertain us all. I wish the team all the best for the coming year. The importance of the Reliance ICC ODI Shield should be celebrated as this is the ICC Cricket World Cup format. To finish as the No.1 ranked ODI side in addition to being the defending champion of ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, is a wonderful achievement,” he said.

“India will no doubt, therefore, enter the ICC Champions Trophy as one of the sides to watch out for. There could not have been a better fillip for India as it heads into the tournament featuring the eight best ODI sides. I’m sure that Mahendra and his team will be looking forward to maintaining their rank at the top of this format.” — PTI

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