ICC Test Championship

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ICC Test Championship
ICCranking logo.png
ICC Test Championship logo
Administrator International Cricket Council
Format Test cricket
First tournament 2003
Last tournament ongoing
Tournament format notional (ongoing points
accumulation through all matches played)
Number of teams 10
Current champion  South Africa (124 points)
Most successful  Australia (76 months)

The ICC Test Championship is an international competition run by the International Cricket Council in the sport of cricket for the 10 teams that play Test cricket. The competition is notional in the sense that it is simply a ranking scheme overlaid on all international matches that are otherwise played as part of regular Test cricket scheduling with no consideration of home or away status.

In essence, after every Test series, the two teams involved receive points based on a mathematical formula. The total of each team's points total is divided by the total number of matches to give a 'rating', and the Test-playing teams are ranked by order of rating (this can be shown in a table).

The points for winning a Test match or series are greater than the team's rating, increasing the rating, and the points for losing the match or series are always less than the rating, reducing the rating. A drawn match between higher and lower rated teams will benefit the lower-rated team at the expense of the higher-rated team. An 'average' team that wins as often as it loses while playing a mix of stronger and weaker teams should have a rating of 100.

The International Cricket Council awards a trophy, the ICC Test Championship mace, to the team holding the highest rating. The mace is transferred whenever a new team moves to the top of the rating list.[1]

South Africa are currently the highest-ranked team in the ICC Test Championship having beaten Sri Lanka 1-0 in a two match series held in Sri Lanka in July 2014. [2]

Current rankings[edit]

ICC Test Championship
Rank Change Team Matches Points Rating
1 Steady  South Africa 27 3353 124
2 Steady  Australia 32 3950 123
3 Increase  England 39 4063 104
4 Increase  Sri Lanka 31 3126 101
5 Decrease  India 29 2793 96
6 Decrease  Pakistan 23 2199 96
7 Steady  New Zealand 30 2787 93
8 Steady  West Indies 26 1962 75
9 Steady  Zimbabwe 9 352 39
10 Steady  Bangladesh 17 320 19
Reference: ICC Rankings, 16 September 2014

Historical rankings[edit]

World rankings for the top eight teams from 2003 to June 2011

The ICC provides ratings for the end of each month back to June 2003. The teams that have successively held the highest rating since that date, by whole month periods, are:

Team Start End Total months Cumulative Months Highest rating
 Australia June 2003 August 2009 74 74 143
 South Africa August 2009 November 2009 3 3 122
 India November 2009 August 2011 21 21 130
 England August 2011 August 2012 12 12 125
 South Africa August 2012 May 2014 21 24 135
 Australia May 2014 July 2014 2 76 123
 South Africa July 2014 Present 124
Reference: ICC Rankings

Since the ICC officially began ranking teams in 2003, Australia has dominated as it had done so in Test cricket since around 1995. However from 2009, several teams (Australia, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England) have competed for the top positions.

The ICC recently applied its current rating system to results since 1952 providing ratings for the end of each month back to 1952 further indicating Australia's historical dominance in Test Cricket with the most consecutive months ranked first (95) from September 2001 to July 2009, the highest number of months ranked first (317) and the highest rating (143). The table only begins from 1952 as prior to this date, there is not enough data available due to the infrequency of matches and the small number of competing teams in the earlier periods.

The teams that have successively held the highest rating since January 1952 till May 2003, by whole month periods, are:

Team Start End Total months
 Australia January 1952 May 1955 41
 England June 1955 February 1958 33
 Australia March 1958 July 1958 5
 England August 1958 December 1958 5
 Australia January 1959 December 1963 60
 West Indies January 1964 December 1968 60
 South Africa January 1969 December 1969 12
 England January 1970 January 1973 37
 Australia February 1973 March 1973 2
 India April 1973 June 1974 15
 Australia July 1974 January 1978 43
 West Indies February 1978 January 1979 12
 England February 1979 August 1980 19
 India September 1980 February 1981 6
 West Indies March 1981 July 1988 89
 Pakistan August 1988 September 1988 2
 West Indies October 1988 January 1991 28
 Australia February 1991 April 1991 3
 West Indies May 1991 July 1992 15
 Australia August 1992 January 1993 6
 West Indies February 1993 August 1995 31
 India September 1995 November 1995 3
 Australia December 1995 July 1999 44
 South Africa August 1999 December 1999 5
 Australia January 2000 February 2000 2
 South Africa March 2000 March 2000 1
 Australia April 2000 July 2001 16
 South Africa August 2001 August 2001 1
 Australia September 2001 May 2003 21
Reference: ICC Historical Rankings

The summary of teams that have held the highest rating from 1952 to the present by whole month periods, are:

Team Total months Highest rating
 Australia 317 143
 West Indies 235 135
 England 106 125
 India 45 130
 South Africa 43 135
 Pakistan 2 110
Reference: ICC Historical Rankings

Trophy[edit]

Since 2001, the top-ranked Test team in the world has been awarded the ICC Test Championship mace. It is worth £30,000.[3]

ICC World Test Championship[edit]

For the past few years there has been speculation that the ICC would introduce a Test Championship tournament, similar to that of the World Cup, Champions Trophy, World Twenty20 and ICC Intercontinental Cup.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat proposed a quadrennial tournament with the four best-performing nations meeting in the semi-finals and a final, in a bid to boost flagging interest in the longest form of the sport. The first tournament was meant to replace 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales.[4][5] However, the Test championship was cancelled as the ICC stated that it was not supported by its broadcast partner – ESPN STAR Sports. This was mainly due to the fact that the broadcast of the Champions Trophy would generate much more revenue than a Test Championship. The inaugural ICC Test Championship tournament will happen in 2017, in England and Wales.[6]

Test championship calculations[edit]

The calculations for the table are performed as follows:

  • Each team scores points based on the results of their matches.
  • Each team's rating is equal to its total points scored divided by the total matches and series played. (A series must include at least two Tests).
  • A series only counts if played in the last four years.
  • Series played in the first two years of the four-year limit count half; essentially, recent matches are given more weight.
  • To determine a team's rating after a particular series:
    • Find the series result
      • Award 1 point to a team for each win
      • Award 1/2 point to a team for each draw
      • Award 1 bonus point to the team winning the series
      • Award 1/2 bonus point to each team if the series is drawn
    • Convert the series result to actual ratings points
      • If the gap between the ratings of the two teams at the commencement of the series is less than 40 points, then the ratings points for each team equals:
        • (The team's own series result) multiplied by (50 points MORE than the opponent's rating) PLUS
        • (The opponent's series result) multiplied by (50 points LESS than the opponent's rating)
      • If the gap between the ratings of the two teams at the commencement of the series is more than or equal to 40 points, then the ratings points for the stronger team equals:
        • (The team's own series result) multiplied by (10 points MORE than the team's own rating) PLUS
        • (The opponent's series result) multiplied by (90 points LESS than the team's own rating)
      • If the gap between the ratings of the two teams at the commencement of the series is more than or equal to 40 points, then the ratings points for the weaker team equals:
        • (The team's own series result) multiplied by (90 points MORE than the team's own rating) PLUS
        • (The opponent's series result) multiplied by (10 points LESS than the team's own rating)
    • Add the ratings points scored by the team to the total ratings points already scored (in previous matches, as reflected by the Table)
    • Update the number of matches played by the team through adding one more than the number of games in the series (a two Test match series will result in the match count getting incremented by three)
    • Divide the new rating points with the updated number of matches to get the final rating.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]