If you have ever wondered which is the best cricket team in the world, then you will most likely stumble upon the ICC Team Ranking System in order to find the answer. But, understanding how the team ranking system works can seem like a daunting task if we are unaware of the factors considered. So, in today’s post, we’ll help you understand everything you need to know about the ICC’s Team Ranking System.
The ICC Team Ranking System is designed to identify the most capable cricket team. The team rankings are independent for all the three formats of the game.
For instance – If India is ranked number one in the Test Match format, a different team that has earned higher rating points can be number one in an ODI or T20 format.
The factors involved in calculating the rating points is not as complicated as that of individual player rankings.
So, let’s look at how the team ranking system works –
Ranking for Test Matches
In a nutshell, the two teams involved in a test series receive points at the end of the test series. These points gained from the test series are added to the total rating points of the respective team. Next, based on the number of matches played, an average rating is deduced. Teams are ranked in order of their rating.
The ICC also awards a trophy (known as the ICC Test Championship Mace) to the team holding the first rank in the ranking table.
Factors Considered for Test Match Rankings
Although the team ranking factors are different for each of the three formats, there are some basic factors that are common to all. For test matches specifically, there are a few things that we should be aware of in order to understand the ICC team ranking system –
In addition to the rating and ranking that we looked at, there are two additional terms which we will have to be aware of when calculating the ranking of the team under the ICC team ranking system –
- Series Points – are special points awarded to a team for a particular series based on the outcome of the series. These are valid only for one series and their purpose is to help calculate the rating points.
- Rating Points – Total points accumulated by a team during the ranking period.
- Rating – An average of the rating points earned per match (arrived at dividing the total rating points/ number of matches played)
- Ranking – Position of a team on the ranking table.
Ranking System –
The ranking of teams is arrived at through a three-step process
- Step 1 – Each team playing a test series earns certain “series points” (not to be confused with rating points) based on a mathematical formula. (which we shall discuss in detail below with examples)
- The “series points” are received after the end of each series.
- Step 2 – The series points are converted into actual rating points.
- Step 3 – Based on the rating points, the rating is arrived at and the teams are finally ranked.
Time Period for the rating points –
- The time period considered for the calculation is 3 – 4 years.
- ICC considers 3 previous years, and the current year for the calculations (thus, the range is 3 years at the beginning of the current year and 4 years at the end of the current year)
- This period mentioned above starts from the month of May every year.
Weightage Given –
- Weightages are given to performance considered during this period of 3-4 years.
- Performance in the current year and the year prior to that are given 100% weightage.
- Performance ratings in the two years preceding the previous year are given 50% weightage.
Let’s look at the above example to understand the weightage considered.
If the year 2013-2014 is being considered as the current year, then –
- Points earned in the current year i.e. May 2013 onwards gets 100% weightage
- Points earned in the previous year i.e. from May 2012- May 2013, get 100% weightage
- However, 50% weightage is given to the two years preceding the previous year i.e. May 2010 – May 2012 get 50% weightage on the rating points accumulated.
- The rating of a team is calculated based on the average rating points a team has earned during a qualifying time period.
- For example, if a team has earned 3600 rating points during a certain time period, and has played 30 matches during this period, then the rating of that team would be – 3600/30 = 120.
- An important point to note is that a completed series is also considered as 1 match when calculating the rating of a team irrespective of the number of matches played in the series. (it will be clear what we mean when we look at the example below)
Calculation of Rating Points
As mentioned above, the calculation is based on a 3 step process. The three steps can be understood in detail below –
Step 1 – Calculating the Series Points
For teams in ICC team ranking system, series points are awarded in order to calculate the rating points to be given for each team.
A series is considered wherein at least 2 matches are played between the two teams.
The series points are valid only for a particular series post which, it ceases to have any meaning. The only purpose of the series points is to help calculate the ratings points to be given to each team.
The series points are assigned to teams are based on the following factors –
- 1 series point for each match won
- 1/2 series point for each match drawn/tie
- 1 bonus series point for the team winning the series
- 1/2 bonus series point if the series is drawn
Step 2 – Calculating the Rating Points
The rating points that the team has earned during a particular series is arrived at using the series points.
However, there are two different formulae for calculating the rating points of a team. Based on the difference in the rating of the two teams before the start of the series, the method applied will vary.
Scenario A – The gap between the rating (not rating points) of the two teams before the start of the series was less than 40.
Then, the following formula will be used for calculating the rating points to be assigned to each team.
Formula for Scenario A –
[(The team’s own series points) x (The opponent’s rating + 50)] + [(The opponent’s series points) x (The opponent’s rating − 50)]
Example 1 –
Let’s say India is playing a 3 match series with England, and before the start of the Test Series, India had a rating of 120 (3600 rating points from 30 matches), and England had a rating of 90 (3240 rating points from 36 matches.
At the end of the series, India manages to win 2 matches and England wins 1 match. As a result, India also manages to win the series.
Calculation of rating points (for the example) – Then, the rating points shall be calculated as follows –
Firstly, since the difference in the rating of the two teams was less than 40 (was actually 120 – 90 = 30), thus formula for scenario A will apply.
Step 1 – calculating the series points
India won 2 matches. Thus, they get 1 series points for each of the two matches. Plus, 1 bonus series point for winning the series.
Therefore, total series points for India = 2×1 + 1 = 3
Similarly, total series points for England = 1×1 = 1
Step 2 – calculating the rating points earned in the series
As we discussed above, here the formula for scenario A will apply.
Thus, total rating points earned by India =
[ 3 X (90 (England’s rating) + 50] + [ 1 X (90 – 50)] = [3×140] + [1×40] = 460
Similarly, total rating points earned by England =
[1 X (120 (India’s rating) + 50] + [3 X (120 – 50)] = [1×170] + [3×70] = 380
Step 3 – calculating the rating and the ranking
The rating is calculated as an average rating points earned per match by a team. Thus, for the above example, it can be calculated as follows –
India had 3600 rating points from 30 matches with a rating of 120. During this series, India added 460 rating points and played 3 matches. Thus, the new rating will be calculated as follows –
India’s Rating = [3600 + 460]/ [30 + 3 + 1] = 4060/34 = 119.4
Note – the total rating points were divided by 34 instead of 33 because a completed series is also considered as 1 match (irrespective of the number of matches played in the series).
England’s Rating = [3240 + 380]/ [36 + 3 + 1] = 3620/40 = 90.5
Based on the above rating arrived, the two teams will be ranked in comparison to the rating of other teams in the table.
Scenario B – The gap between the rating of the two teams before the start of the series was 40 or more.
In such a scenario, a different formula will be used for arriving at the ratings of the two teams. This would be as follows –
Formula for Scenario B –
Team with a higher rating –
[(The team’s own series points) x (The team’s own rating + 10)] + [(The opponent’s series points) x (The team’s own rating − 90)]
Team with a lower rating –
[(The team’s own series points) x (The team’s own rating + 90)] + [(The opponent’s series points) x (The team’s own rating − 10)]
Step 3 – Calculating the rating and ranking of a team
Once the rating points earned by the team during a particular series is arrived at, it is added to the overall rating points accumulated by the team during the course of the ranking period, and an average is calculated to arrive at the rating.
Do remember, a completed series is also considered as 1 match (irrespective of the number of matches played in the series)
Ranking for ODIs and T20s
The ICC Team Ranking System for ODI and T20 is much simpler than it is for Test Matches.
The ranking works in a similar manner in ODIs and T20s as it does for Test Matches. However, a series concept is not used in the ODIs and T20s.
Here, the ranking is calculated and issued after every single match.
How does the Calculation Work?
Even though the series concept doesn’t exist, the exact same two scenarios are applied as was done in the test match ranking system. However, since there is no concept of the series points here, the formula for calculating the rating points is slightly different.
Let’s take a look at both the scenarios and their formulae below –
Formula for Scenario A (the difference between the rating of the two teams before the start of the match is less than 40)
Rating points earned by the team for the specific match would be as follows
- Win – Opponent’s rating + 50
- Tie – Opponent’s rating
- Lose – Opponent’s rating – 50
Example 2 –
Let’s say India and England are playing a ODI match. Before the start of the ODI match, India had a rating of 120 (3600 rating points from 30 matches), and England had a rating of 90 (3240 rating points from 36 matches).
If India wins the match,
The rating points earned by India would be 90 + 50 = 140
The rating points earned by England would be 120 – 50 = 70
Thus, the change in the overall rating would be as follows –
India’s new rating = (3600 + 140)/31 = 120.6
England’s new rating = (3240 + 70)/37 = 89.4
Formula for Scenario B (The gap between the rating of the two teams before the start of the series was 40 or more)
|Rating For||Match result||Points earned|
|Higher Rated Team||Higher rated team wins||Own rating + 10|
|Lower Rated Team||Higher rated team wins||Own rating − 10|
|Higher Rated Team||Match Tie||Own rating − 40|
|Lower Rated Team||Match Tie||Own rating + 40|
|Higher Rated Team||Lower rated team wins||Own rating − 90|
|Lower Rated Team||Lower rated team wins||Own rating + 90|
This can be better understood with the following example –
Let’s say Australia is playing a T20 match with Bangladesh, and Australia has a rating of 100 and Bangladesh has a rating of 20 before the start of the math. Thus, the calculation of rating points earned for all the three scenarios would be as follows –
|Team||Match Result||Rating Points Earned|
|For Australia||Australia Win||100 + 10 = 110 (earned)|
|For Bangladesh||Australia Win||20 – 10 = 10 (earned)|
|For Australia||Tie||100 – 40 = 60|
|For Bangladesh||Tie||20 + 40 = 60|
|For Australia||Bangladesh Win||100 – 90 = 10|
|For Bangladesh||Bangladesh Win||20 + 90 = 110|
Please note that the points mentioned in the “rating points earned” column are the points earned by the team during that specific match. It is NOT the rating after the match.
In order to calculate the new rating, we will have to look at the total points earned and matches played and calculate it as explained in “Example 2”.
Q. How are the rating points calculated if only 1 Test Match is played?
This is an interesting scenario. If only 1 test match is played between two teams and no further test matches were planned, then this shall not be deemed as a test series.
For a test series to be considered, at least 2 test matches have to be played between the two teams.
Thus, in such a scenario, the series concept will not be applied.
In essence, the calculation will be similar to that of a One Day International (since ODIs or T20s don’t have any series concept).
However, it is important to note that both scenario A & B (as mentioned above) shall be considered while calculating the rating points earned by the teams for the match.
Q. Who has won the ICC Test Championship Mace the maximum?
The ICC Test Championship and the rankings were issued in 2003. Since then, Australia has won the championship mace maximum of 9 times. This is followed by India who has won it 5 times, South Africa 3 times and England has once the mace once.
Q. Which team has held the No. 1 rank for the longest period of Time?
Australia has a distinct record of being the champion for the longest continuous period of time. Australia remained the number 1 test playing team for a period of 74 months from June 2003 to July 2009!
The table below shows the total number of months a test playing nation has been the number one test team.
|Team||Total Months||Highest Rating|
Phew! Understanding the ranking system can seem very daunting. However, once you understand the basic rules used, it becomes a bit simple to figure out how it works. I hope this article has been able to answer some or any queries that you may have had. We shall soon be coming out with a video in order to help explain this visually. Till then, stay tuned!
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