Detailed analysis on why India lost No.1 rank in ICC Test Team Rankings

Detailed analysis on why India lost No.1 rank in ICC Test Team Rankings

How Australia edged over India?

Indian Cricket Team. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced annual rankings on Friday which saw Australia climbing up to No.1 spot in the team rankings in both Tests and T20Is. India, who have been undisputed No.1 ranked side in Test cricket for more than three years, has been pushed to No.3. New Zealand managed to retain its No.2 spot. The Kiwis (115 rating points) currently stand one rating point ahead of India (114 rating points) and one rating behind the Aussies (116 rating points).

India was placed at the top for nearly 43 months continuously, a streak that began in October 2016. Since the official ICC rankings came into existence in 2003, India’s streak is only behind Australia’s 74-month streak (June 2003 – July 2009). The latest annual update considers all matches played since the start of May 2017. It also means the period between May 2016 and April 2017 doesn’t carry weightage anymore.


India’s dominance in Test rankings in the last 4 years was mainly due to their unbelievable record during 2016-17 season. Between May 2016 and April 2017, India featured in 17 Test matches out of which they won a total of 12 games and lost only one Test. No other side won more than 7 Tests during that period. Even since May 2017, India won 18 Test matches; only behind England’s 20 victories. Australia is placed 3rd in this list with 16 victories.


How does the ICC rankings algorithm work?

The ICC follows unique algorithms for defining the team rankings in each format. When it comes to Test rankings, the points are calculated based on a team’s performance in each series. The aggregate of each team divided by the number of Test matches played in the criteria period gives the rating. This meant whitewashing the opponent will help a team earn maximum points from a series and being whitewashed costs the opposite way.


How Australia edged over India?

India won 8 out of 11 Test series they played since May 2017 while Australia, in the same period, won only four out of 9 series. Unlike the Aussies, the Indian team had wins against some of the lower-ranked teams. They won all the seven Tests played across 4 series against West Indies, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who are now ranked No.8, No.9 and No.10 respectively. India won more than two matches in a Test series twice; against South Africa and Sri Lanka who are in the middle of the table.


The series defeats against England in 2018 and New Zealand recently cost India the most. In England, the Indian team lost to the hosts by 1-4 margin and lost both games in the 2-match Test series against Kiwis. At the same time, Australia’s worst Test series defeat came in South Africa where they lost 1-3. They lost two matches during away Ashes series which was against current No.4 team England. But in the same series, Australia won two games and managed to draw the series.


The England team was suffered by Australia’s home dominance in 2017-18 where they lost 0-4. It helped the Aussies to neutralize for the series defeat in South Africa and a drawn series in Bangladesh. The recent series wins over Pakistan and New Zealand by 2-0 and 3-0 at home sealed the Aussies the No.1 position in Test team rankings for the first time since August 2016.

(All stats as on May 1, 2020)