It’s not often that the top test ranking changes as often as it has in 2016. Last Monday, Virat “fitness freak” Kohli’s Indian team crushed New Zealand by 178 runs and with that toppled Pakistan to regain their number 1 status – for the third time in 2016! India began the year at number 1 overtaking South Africa and got back on top briefly in August but over the last ten months, Pakistan and Australia have also held the top spot.
How the ICC calculates test rankings
Some of you will remember that India was top of the (test) pops from late 2009 to early 2011. But how does the ICC calculate test rankings?
– Points are calculated based on a complex weightage formula. Matches two years or older get less weightage (50%), matches less than two years old get more weightage (100%).
– Each team is given one rating point for every win, half for a draw and one bonus point for a series win.
– Ratings are also determined based on the relative rankings of the teams – so if you keep winning against teams that are ranked lower than yours, your rating points increase but slowly.
– It is possible for a team to win a series and suffer a fall in ratings. This would happen if a highly ranked team defeats a low ranked team by a small margin and the results of other series go against them.
All very complex! For those who are really interesting in the mathematics, have a read of this ESPNCricinfo’s summary of how the rankings work.
Where is India in the ICC test rankings right now?
For all you Indian fans who have gone to check out the official ICC test rankings, do note that these are updated only after every series so India is still showing as number 2 with 110 rating points with Pakistan on top with 111 rating points.
Interestingly, the CricBuzz website has reported that India will fall back to number 2 if they lose the third test in Indore. The reason CricBuzz gives is that both Pakistan and India will have 111 ratings points but Pakistan will be ahead of India on decimal points. However, this is contrary to the official ICC position which says that India is guaranteed to be number 1 at the end of the series even if New Zealand earn a consolation win (but Pakistan will have a shot at reclaiming its ranking shortly against the West Indies).
Confused? So are we!