India have risen to be number one in the rankings and many people will say that the rankings are questionable. Are India the best Test cricket team?
A lot of people say the rankings are meaningless. When they make this criticism, they always do it according to a team’s position. The statement is usually something like ‘there is no way on earth that Australia are only the fourth best’.
Australia are actually third now, but these people should look at the points that the positions are based on rather than the positions themselves. It’s like batting averages. One run here or there doesn’t mean a thing (except to Don Bradman maybe). Similarly, one point in the Test rankings doesn’t mean a lot.
Back when Australia were clearly the best Test side, they were generally ahead by about 15 points. That’s enough. You’re definitely ahead there. Back then, being fourth meant you were a distant fourth. Not so long ago, when Australia were ranked fourth, they were fourth by about a point. That doesn’t really mean anything.
Test cricket’s hierarchy and why shades of grey are good
One of the best things about Test cricket is that the same two teams can produce wildly differing results if they play each other in different countries, on different grounds or even in different weather conditions.
It’s not like Team A are the best and they’ll always beat Team B, who’ll always beat Team C and so on. There are so many different factors that there’s frequently a healthy amount of grey to the answer to any ‘which side is better?’ question.
Look at the rankings in the same way. A point here or there means next to nothing.