The South African cricket team will put its number one One Day International ranking on the line in the six-match One Day International Series against India starting on Thursday.

Aiden Markram will replace the injured AB de Villiers who is out of the first three ODI’s due to a finger injury.

South Africa and India will fight for the world number one ranking again when they meet in a six-match one-day international series starting at Kingsmead on Thursday. South Africa tops the International Cricket Councils one-day rankings by a slim one point over than India.

With points being adjusted after each match, depending on results, it is possible the number one position could change from match to match. The one-day games start just five days after India retained their top ranking in tests, although second-placed South Africa closed the points gap by winning the three test series 2-1.

With such a short resting period between the two series, Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis says preparation is key if they want their desired results.

“I did feel yesterday (Monday) a touch on the short side, like you say a bit rushed, still feeling the after effects of the test series which was a tough one, mentally and physically, yesterday (Monday) after practice the boys were pretty tired but it is what it is we know there’s a quick turn-around and as you’ve mentioned there’s not going to  be a lot of time between games as well so it’s important how you get yourself ready for the next game every time.”

With De Villiers ruled out of the first three ODIs of the series, a door has opened up for Aiden Markram. Du Plessis believes the test opener will learn a great deal from the experience.

“Ab’s not playing this game so Aiden Markram is coming in, giving him an opportunity to bat in different places in our batting order I feel that’s also a great way to evolve your own game learn different situations at different times in one day cricket so that will be a nice learning curve for him and hopefully he can score some runs for us.”

Du Plessis acknowledged the importance of having spin bowler Imraan Tahir in the line-up, saying his consistency has been the biggest reason they’ve done so well in this format of the game.

“Obviously, Imraan is a quality bowler. He has been probably the biggest reason for our success in one day cricket because he always keeps getting wickets so he’s a massive player for us.”

The match is set to begin at 1pm on Thursday.