JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 22, Lonwabo Tsotsobe of South Africa celebrates another wicket during the 5th ODI match between South Africa and Sri Lanka from Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

Lonwabo Tsotsobe's performance in the one-day international (ODI) series against New Zealand has spearheaded him into number one in the ODI world rankings for bowlers.

Tsotsobe was in second position behind Saeed Ajmal from Pakistan at the beginning of the series, but his six wickets against the Black Caps saw him move to the top spot and also his highest career ranking.

“I am not one for numbers but I do put in a lot of hard work and it is always special when you receive the recognition,” said Tsotsobe.

“I think I have been bowling some of the best spells of my career over the past five months and I hope that I can continue with that form.

“The most important aspect of my bowling is that I am contributing to the team's success and that is always something you strive for as a cricketer.”

His performances for the Proteas' ODI side during the home series against Australia and Sri Lanka helped him break into the top 10, and he also became the fastest South African player to take 50 limited-overs wickets, in only 27 appearances for the national side.

Proteas' ODI captain, AB de Villiers was pleased that Tsotsobe's hard work received the recognition it deserved.

“Lopsy has been working very hard on his game, he deserves all of the credit that comes his way,” said De Villiers.

“He has been a vital asset for the bowling attack during the summer and has been a consistent threat to the opposition's batsmen.

“He has matured a lot as a bowler, and has executed his skills and game-plans really well.”

Morne Morkel was the most successful bowler in the New Zealand three-match series, taking seven wickets including his career-best figures of five for 38 in the second ODI in Napier.

His achievements have helped him leapfrog England's Graeme Swann into third position while Dale Steyn moved up three places to 13th position.

JP Duminy gained two places and moved to 21st on the batting ODI rankings, while Hashim Amla and De Villiers continued to occupy first and second positions, respectively, after they ended the series as the Proteas' leading batsmen.

Amla amassed 176 runs and De Villiers 146.

The Proteas' three-nil series win moved them into second place, one rating point ahead of third-placed India with Australia still occupying the top spot. – Sapa