What Teams Are In The World Cup So Far Who’s Who in the Cricket World

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Who’s Who in the Cricket World

It’s a huge challenge for cricket fans to agree who the best teams in the world are, and who the best players of the past and present are. You might think that a sport that produces so many statistics could easily provide the facts and figures to solve this challenge, but it is not so easy. The test playing countries do not play the same number of games; opponents vary in strength, and there is no specific representative period for calculating rating points.

For example, a strong team like South Africa could easily beat a developing team like Bangladesh in a 5 match test series. But, how should that compare to a tough series between say India and Pakistan? Sir Donald Bradman had a test match batting average of over 99, but how should this be compared to today’s world cricket stars who play far more tests, but where a batting average of over 50 is considered outstanding?

Various dedicated fans have developed rating systems to solve these problems. These rank individual players by points awarded or by calculating batting/bowling averages. Grading periods range from 18 months to an entire career. None of them are perfect, but the best known system was developed by Price Waterhouse Coopers (accountants), and is now used by the ICC.

The ICC rankings rank players on a 0-1000 point scale, separately for tests and ODIs. They take into account the runs scored or wickets taken, the ratings of their opponents, the total runs scored in a match and the result of the match. These rankings are a moving average, so if a player’s performance improves on their previous record, their score increases. But, it diminishes if its form deteriorates.

This is great for comparing current and past players. The calculations are quite complicated, but the ICC player comparison tool does all the work for us. Try comparing Sir Len Hutton and Brian Lara, and see if it settles your after-dinner debate about who is the best. It’s clever stuff, but of course it’s only as good as the rules for awarding rating points.

Team ranking systems are equally complex. The system was first devised for test teams in 1995 by Wisden, and points were awarded for a team’s performance in recent test series. This was used by the ICC from 2001, when the world test championship was established. However, the system did not take into account the relative strength of the opponents, and a new test championship system was adopted in 2005.

This was invented by David Kendix, a cricket scorer and actuary. It works like batting average – a winning team improves their average / ranking while a losing team sees their ranking drop. Tests and ODIs use different variations of this system.

The “official” ICC-Kendix system is comprehensive, but there are still several others that are based on points, ratings, averages or some combination of these. They show that cricket records are a statistician’s dream, but what do they all prove?

The reality is that Australia is currently at the top of all the different rankings for tests and ODIs. South Africa are ranked second in all ODI rankings, and England are second in all but one of the test match rankings. The official ICC rankings provide definitive league tables.

So much for rankings, but there is much more to world cricket than crunching numbers. The “premier league” of world cricket consists of ten countries that play each other in test matches, ODIs, the Cricket World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy. However, the ICC World Cricket League includes 87 other countries that do not have test status, but play ODI cricket. These form five global divisions, and participate in five regional ODI tournaments.

Kenya are the current WCL champions, and all six members of the WCL division one qualified for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, alongside the test playing nations. There are financial benefits to gaining test match status and for playing in the world cup, which in turn helps the development of cricket. Thus, the WCL promotes the development of cricket and offers non-test playing countries a pathway to cricket’s “premier league”.

The world test cricket championships, ODI rankings, world cricket league and player ratings are relatively new. Whether you love them or hate them, they bring real global interest to cricket which is great for the sport. But despite all this science, will fans ever agree who is the best?

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