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How India lost top position in ICC test rankings

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

India have been dethroned from their number uno spot in ICC Test rankings. They were at the helm for 42 months! But, still far behind the longest Test no 1 reigns which is jointly held by West Indies (1959-1963) and Australia (1964-1968). Now, this is all fine ! But, ever wondered how ICC calculates Test Rankings? do you know what all parameters are included in these rankings? How these rankings are calculated? And also ever thought of what better way to improve these rankings? If you are curious then read on!

Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

ICC team rankings are developed by a prominent cricket statistician named David Kendix. There are 2 calculations done for ICC test rankings one is for the “Points” and the other is for “Rating”. The interesting part is the rankings are decided by the order of “Rating” and not by “Points”. So, even if a team has the highest points but not the ratings then, it cannot be the number uno team. Test rankings are simple first thing to be noted is they don’t have any provision or parameter to give extra points to the visiting team. The points will be the same if the team wins at home venue or at the venue. There are 2 ways of calculation of rating pints through a series and which method to calculate will depend on the difference between the rating points of the 2 teams.

Now, allocation of points is simple. If a team wins it gets 1 point ,in case of a draw both the teams will earn 0.5 points and the winning team of the series will win 1 extra point that mean if a team wins a 3 match test series 2-1 it will earn 2 points for winning 2 tests and one extra point for winning the series. So, in total it will earn 3 points and loosing team earn 1 point.


The actual calculation begins now. As we have already said 2 ways of calculations, we will consider the first scenario where the difference between the rating points is less than 40 points. Imagine two teams A and B were about to play a 3 match test series. The current points scenario is as follows

Consider that team A won the series 2-1, it earns 3 points ( 2 points for match wins and 1 point for series win) and team B earns 1 point. The Points calculation formula for the particular series is as follows:

[(Teams series points) *(Opposition Rating Points+50)] +[(Opposition series points)*(Teams Rating Points -50)]

So, lets calculate for Team A, team series points

[(3)*(80+50)] + [(1)*(90-50)] = 430 Points for team A

Team B:

[(1)*(90+50)] + [(3)*(80-50)] = 230 Points for team B

Ratings are calculated using the below formula:

[(Points prior to the start of series + Points earned in this series)]/ Total No. of matches played

Team A: [(1500+430)]/20 = 96.5 Rating

Team B: [(1250+230)]/17 = 87 Rating


Now, the formula varies if the difference between the rating points is equal or greater than 40. Consider 2 teams A and B who are about to play a 3 match series. The current point scenario is as follows.

Consider Team B wins the series 2-1, the formula for calculating the points for this series is as follows:

The stronger teams i.e Team A’s points is calculated as follows:

[(Team series points)*(Team Rating + 10)] + [(Opposition Series points)*(Team Rating – 90)]

Team A = [(1)*(100+10)] + [(3)*(100-90)] = 140 points for team A

The weaker team i.e Team B’s points is calculated as follows:

[(Team series points)*(Team Rating + 90)] + [(Opposition series points)*(Team Rating – 10)]

Team B = [(3)*(60+90)] + [(1)*(60-10)] = 500 points for Team B.

And the ratings can be calculated as mentioned in case A

Team A = (140+1500)/20 = 82 Rating for Team A

Team B = (500+1000)/17 = 88 Rating for Team B

One another important criteria is time frame to be considered for points. A minimum of 36 months and a maximum of 48 months time frame is considered for rankings and the weightage of points also differs, for the initial 2 years 50% of the weightage will be given and the last 12-24 months 100% weightage will be given. This criteria is the reason for India loosing its number uno spot from test rankings!

We can see it’s a very definitive way of point scoring. But, it will be great if ICC can also consider the match scenario conditions. Imagine if ICC can instead of just distributing the points for a win, it will be great and more competitive if they can give more points to teams which come from the back and snatch the game from the opponent. This factor can be considered by measuring the odds for each team and if the difference is much higher then the team which beats the odd can be awarded more points! This type of scenario makes cricket more competing and exciting!

We hope you liked our Math class today! Now go on and boast about your knowledge! And don’t forget to maintain social distancing while you do it!


About the Author

The post is written by Himanth. He is an alum of IIMV ,a potter head, considers cricket his religion and sachin his god.

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