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The International Cricket Council (ICC) uses the ICC Men’s Test Ranking system to assess and rank international cricket teams and players in the Test format of the game. Test cricket has a rich history dating back to the mid-20th century and is beloved by cricket enthusiasts and players. The ranking system adds an extra layer of excitement and competition to the game, providing insight into teams’ and players’ standing and performance on a global scale.
This article explores the details of the ICC Men’s Test Ranking system and the factors that contribute to a team’s or player’s rise or fall in the rankings.
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The ICC Men’s Test Team Rankings are primarily determined by the points earned by each team from the Test matches they compete in. The points system awards different values for a win, draw, and loss, with the aim of reflecting the competitiveness and results of each match. Here’s how it works:
- Points Allocation: A team earns a certain number of points for each Test match based on the result. A victory grants the winning team the highest number of points, while a draw results in fewer points. A loss typically yields minimal or no points.
- Series Points: The rankings also take into account the points earned in a Test series, which can consist of varying numbers of matches. The points accumulated from each match within a series are combined to determine the overall series points.
- Opponent Strength: The strength of the opposition plays a crucial role in determining the points earned. Defeating higher-ranked teams will reward a team with more points than beating lower-ranked opponents.
- Series Duration: The rankings give additional weight to longer Test series, as they offer a more extensive and comprehensive evaluation of a team’s performance.
- Series Results: In the event of a drawn series, the team that won the most matches is ranked higher. If the number of victories is the same, the team with more points overall is ranked above the other.
Let’s consider an example of how the Australian cricket team’s Test ranking points might be calculated based on their recent performances.
Assuming the following hypothetical scenario for a series against Pakistan:
- Australia played two Test matches in the series against Pakistan.
- In the first Test, Australia won convincingly, securing victory by an innings and 100 runs.
- In the second Test, the match ended in a draw as rain washed out play on the final day.
- The Australian batsmen scored a total of 500 runs in the first innings of the first Test, with Steve Smith scoring a century (120 runs) and David Warner contributing a half-century (75 runs).
- In the second Test, Australia scored 350 runs in their first innings before the match was affected by rain.
- The Australian bowlers took 20 wickets in the series, with Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon each claiming five wickets.
- Series Result: Australia won one Test and drew the other in the series against Pakistan.
- For a Test win, a team typically earns a certain number of points. Let’s say Australia earns 50 points for winning the first Test.
- For a drawn Test, both teams usually earn a certain number of points. Let’s say Australia and Pakistan each earn 25 points for the drawn second Test.
- So, Australia earns a total of 50 points (Test 1) + 25 points (Test 2) = 75 points for the series result.
- Batting Points: The Australian batsmen scored a total of 850 runs in the series (500 runs in Test 1 + 350 runs in Test 2).
- For every run scored, the team earns a certain number of batting points (hypothetically, let’s say 0.5 points per run).
- So, Australia earns 850 batting points for their runs.
- Bowling Points: The Australian bowlers took a total of 20 wickets in the series (10 wickets in each Test).
- For every wicket taken, the team earns a certain number of bowling points (hypothetically, let’s say 3 points per wicket).
- So, Australia earns 60 bowling points for their wickets.
Australia’s total ranking points in the series would be:
Series Result (75) + Batting Points (850) + Bowling Points (60) = 985 points
Please note that this is a simplified hypothetical example, and the actual ICC Men’s Test Ranking system employs more complex and refined algorithms to calculate team rankings. The actual points and formulas used by the ICC may differ, but this example provides a general idea of how a team’s ranking points can be calculated based on their performances in Test matches.
Similar to team rankings, the ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings utilize a points-based system to assess the performances of individual players in Test matches. The rankings take into account a player’s batting, bowling, and all-round skills, with various factors influencing their standings:
- Batting and Bowling Points: Batsmen earn points based on the runs they score in Test matches, while bowlers are awarded points for the wickets they take. The more runs or wickets a player accumulates, the higher their ranking climbs.
- Opponent Strength: The ranking system considers the quality of the opposition faced by a player. Performing well against higher-ranked teams carries more weight in the rankings.
- Recent Form: Recent performances are given more weight in the rankings, as they provide a more accurate representation of a player’s current skill and abilities.
- Career Performance: While recent form is prioritized, a player’s overall career performance is also factored into the rankings, ensuring that consistent performers are recognized.
- All-Rounders: For all-rounders, who contribute significantly both with the bat and the ball, a combined ranking is calculated based on their batting and bowling performances.
Let’s consider an example of how Babar Azam’s Test ranking points might be calculated based on his performances.
Assuming the following hypothetical scenario:
- Babar Azam played two Test matches in a series against Australia.
- In the first Test, he scored 120 runs in the first innings and 60 runs in the second innings.
- In the second Test, he scored 80 runs in the first innings and got out early without scoring in the second innings.
- Babar did not bowl in either Test match.
- Batting Points: Babar Azam’s total runs in the series would be 120 (1st Test) + 60 (1st Test) + 80 (2nd Test) = 260 runs.
- For every run scored, he earns a certain number of batting points (hypothetically, let’s say 1 point per run).
- So, Babar earns 260 batting points for his runs.
- Series Result: Pakistan lost both Test matches in the series against Australia, which means they did not win any Test.
- For a Test loss, a team typically earns minimal or no points. Let’s say Babar Azam earns 5 points for each Test loss.
- Since Pakistan lost both Tests, Babar earns a total of 5 points (Test 1) + 5 points (Test 2) = 10 points for series result.
- Opponent Strength: Australia is a higher-ranked team than Pakistan. Beating a higher-ranked team usually earns more points than defeating lower-ranked teams.
- Hypothetically, let’s say beating a team two positions above in the rankings earns a bonus of 10 points per Test.
- Since Australia is two positions higher in the rankings, Babar earns a bonus of 10 points (Test 1) + 10 points (Test 2) = 20 points for opponent strength.
Babar Azam’s total ranking points in the series would be:
Batting Points (260) + Series Result (10) + Opponent Strength (20) = 290 points
Again, please note that this calculation is a simplified hypothetical example, and in reality, the ICC Men’s Test Ranking system employs more complex and refined algorithms to calculate rankings. The actual points and formulas used by the ICC may differ, but this example provides a general idea of how a player’s ranking points can be calculated based on their performances in Test matches.
How often are the rankings updated?
The ICC Men’s Test Rankings are updated regularly to reflect the latest outcomes of Test matches played by international teams. These rankings were typically updated after every Test match. This means that whenever a Test match is completed, the rankings are recalculated, and the teams’ and players’ positions are adjusted based on their performances in the recently concluded match.
It’s important to note that the frequency of updates might be subject to change by the ICC or any governing body overseeing the rankings. It is advisable to check with the official ICC website or relevant cricketing authorities for the most current information on the update schedule.
These regular updates ensure that the rankings remain relevant and up-to-date, allowing cricket enthusiasts and followers to stay informed about the current standing of their favorite teams and players in the world of Test cricket.