Like all other major sports, the official rankings of Cricketers and Cricketing nations, maintained by ICC, provide pretty realistic picture of where different teams stand in comparison to each other. But since, ICC maintains separate rankings for each of the three official formats of Cricket (Tests, ODIs and T20Is), the method is missing an important piece without which the standings of teams look incomplete and gives only a partial view of overall competition among the Cricketing nations.
That missing piece is a consolidated ranking across all formats. The idea of having such consolidated ranking is pretty simple, that is, to illustrate the overall standing of different nations in the Sports of Cricket on the whole, instead of in any specific format.
CUMULATIVE METHOD: Consolidating the current Ranking Points of different teams provides an aggregate of Total Points of each team across all format and upon ranking those Total Points, it generates the following Ranking:
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Although, the above method looks simple and straight forward but it may be argued that in a Ranking Environment, teams compete with each other and at times, it is not the points earned but the Rank itself that matters more. For example, a team may need to earn 130 ranking points to be ranked number 1 in T20Is but for Test Rankings, a team may need only 115 to achieve the same ranking in that format.
COMPARATIVE POINTS METHOD: To address the above argument, a different calculation method may be applied that gives the following listing:
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In this Comparative Points Method, every team is awarded Comparative Points equal to the number of teams that that team is ahead of in that particular format. Then Comparative Points of a team across all formats is simply added to find out cumulative Comparative Points of each team.
It’s worth noting that since the ranking is comparative in nature, the more teams a particular team is ahead of, the more Comparative Points it will earn. For Example, New Zealand is ranked number 1, currently, in T20 rankings while Pakistan is ranked number 1 in Tests. But since, New Zealand is ahead of 16 other teams it will earn 16 Comparative Points while Pakistan will earn 9 Comparative Points for being number 1 in Tests.
CONCLCUSIONS: Regardless of the method, the listings tell a pretty common story. Australia, India and New Zealand are the top Cricketing Nations at the moment while, after some fair gap, South Africa and England stands within the band of good competitive teams. The rest of the Cricketing nations are lagging far behind and have a lot to do to catch up with the top teams.
Interestingly, Pakistan still stands at number 6 overall in the world which looks a surprise considering Pakistan’s current T20I ranking (7th) and ODI ranking (9th). This goes to show how extra ordinary Pakistan Test side has been as compared to its ODI and T20I sides.
Similarly, this overall ranking tell a different story about the state of Cricket in the Caribbean. West Indies just recently became Men’s T20 Champions, Women’s T20 Champions and Under-19 Champions. However, their performance in Tests and ODIs is nowhere near of being champions; they stand 8th both in Tests and ODI rankings.
Another overall ranking that catches attention is of Afghanistan. Afghanistan clearly stands as ‘Giants amongst the Minnows’ and stands at number 10 ahead of Zimbabwe – a Test Playing Nation – that tells a lot about the rapid and solid progression of Afghanistan Cricket. For a Sports desperately struggling for expansion of the game across the globe and raising the competitiveness across the teams, the rise of Afghan Cricket is good news.