ICC Test rankings system

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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.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. The rankings only matter when they say England (or an English player) is good. Otherwise they are irrelevant.

    The last time an ODI ranking was important, for example, was when Alan Mullally reached #2.

  2. I used shoddy, alcohol-fuelled reasoning and lazy prejudice to compile the following World Rankings-

    1. England
    2. India
    3. South Africa
    4. Sri Lanka
    5. Pakistan
    6. Australia
    + some other teams

  3. @alex: It’s both funny and sad how NZ didn’t get a mention even in your inebriated state.

  4. Cynical bating of supporters of the No.1 Test team in the world is either to be applauded or discarded.

    I discard.

  5. Here’s my test rankings based upon similar (but equally rational) prejudices to my good friend alex.

    1. England
    2. Pakistan
    3. West Indies
    4. New Zealand
    5. Sri Lanka
    6. India
    7. South Africa
    8. Australia

    In light of King Cricket’s comments, I will accept that there are only a couple of points between SA and Australia.

  6. i believe that england will easily beat south africa in the next upcoming test match.

    but surprisingly, India played fewer test matches than england but still India is on number one in the world.

    actually, it is a huge shame that India with over one billion population has never been able to reach on number one in either test or one day except this time; and that even could be just temporary. that’s really shame for India.

    i believe India does not play the same number of test matches as england, south aftrica, and australia do. and that is really astonishing.

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