ICC Rankings are the point-based ranking system used by International Cricket Council to rate the Cricket Players and Teams.
The term ‘Player Ratings’ is used in this system to rank cricketers and cricket teams. This idea of ranking the players based on rating points is developed under Ted Dexter in 1987.
There is always a confused state of understanding in how ICC calculates the rating points. Even a few of the most prominent followers of the game can find it less easy to understand how ICC ranks their favorite players, sometimes.
For instance, when India lost its first place to Australia during the 2020 lockdown period when no cricket was played, most of the cricket fans couldn’t understand why.
So here, we have tried our best to make you understand how ICC Ratings are calculated to rank teams and players across formats.
The Fault in the previous system
To put it in simple words, ICC Ratings are points that are worked out by various algorithms basis on various scenarios. Most importantly, there is no human interaction in the rating, which is all processed by the algorithms.
Before 1987, it was just the batting, and teams’ winning averages were used to rate the teams and players in cricket. It turned out to be a faulty model as it didn’t take match conditions and the quality of the opposing teams in consideration.
So, ICC came up with a new Rating system, where the performances of the players were treated based on the match scenario and the strength of the opposition.
What are Rating Points in Cricket?
Players, in this rating model, are rated with points in the range of 0-1000.
According to ICC, players with more than 500 points are decent enough to list in their rankings.
Players with more than 900 points are supreme achievers in Cricket.
And, 750 plus is what it usually requires for a player to rank in the top 10s.
Ratings are based on the Recent Form
The idea behind the ICC Ranking system is: they go with the recent performances than the overall performances of a player or a team – the reason why Team India loses its first place to Australia in ODI rankings released in May 2020.
India lost a big chunk of their points left out of their account when the results of 2016 became worthless in ICC’s rating algorithm. While rating the teams’ rating points, ICC considers 100% points fetched in the matches that are played in the last year and 50% for matches played two years before that.
For example, in the rankings released in May 2020, the rating points fetched from the matches played between May 2019 to May 2020 will be taken in full, and those of the matches played between May 2017 to May 2019, will be taken in half (50%).
Similarly, for players, only the ones who are doing well in recent times seem to get high in their rankings. Basically, what the player has done in the last year will be crucial in his rankings.
According to ICC Website,
Players have to have appeared in a match within the qualifying period to appear in the lists (normally 12-15 months for Tests, 9 -12 months for T20s and ODIs).
If a player retires from a format, he will be immediately removed from the ICC Rankings. Still, the same player will continue to be in the other formats, if he plays in the format.
For example, MS Dhoni, who is out of Test cricket, was removed from the ICC Test rankings, but he still finds his place in the ICC ODI & T20 rankings as a batsman.
Also, you would have found AB de Villiers out of all three formats rankings after he retired from International Cricket.
When are ICC rankings updated?
One of the common questions among cricket fans is:
How frequently is the ICC rankings updated and published?
ICC updates the Rankings after every Test match and after every ODI series.
Sometimes, ICC will wait for the ongoing cricket series to get over to update the rankings, even if there is a completed series.
How are All-Rounders and Wicket-keepers Ranked?
For Wicket Keepers, there is no credible way to rate them yet, and ICC must be working on a route to assess the wicketkeepers. Still, you can find our statistical analysis to see who is the best ODI wicketkeeper, statistically?
And for All-rounders, here is a calculation method ICC follows to rate them.
Multiply a player’s batting and bowling points and divide it by 1000.
For example, the All-rounder rating points for a player with 800 Batting points and 300 bowling points will be:
800 * 300 = 240000 / 1000 =240 points.
So, if a player has zero rating points in either batting or bowling, they will be ignored with zero All-rounder points.
There are no fielding points included in the all-rounder points as of now.
Where can one see the latest updated ICC Rankings?
ICC Official website will be the right place to check the updated and the latest ICC Players and Teams rankings.
LINK – Click Here to Open Rankings.
Also, you can find a unique feature in the ICC official website is a live team rating predictor. I go there often to predict which team will end up at what position if they win or lose the upcoming series.
ICC Test Mace
ICC also has this habit of picking the No.1 team of Tests every year and award a weird mace.
The Test Championship Mace will be handed over to the team captain, which holds the No.1 ICC Test Team Ranking on the cut-off date of April 1st every year.
Also, the No.1 team will be awarded 1 million USD, whereas the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th will be provided with 500,000, 200,000 & 100,000 USD, respectively.
Update: Now ICC World Test Championship has taken over the Test Championship mace.
You can read about the new Test championship league format here.
I hope you have understood how ICC ranks the cricketers and the teams.
Comment below on how effective do you find the ICC Rating algorithm, and also suggest some changes that could increase the efficiency of this ranking system.