ICC Test Championship

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ICC Test Championship
Mrf-rankings-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  India (110 points)
Most successful  Australia (77 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).

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] The team that is top if the ratings table on 1st April each year also wins a cash prize, currently $1 million.[2]

India are currently the highest-ranked team in the ICC Test Championship after South Africa lost their home series to England in January 2016.[3] India had beaten South Africa in both sides' previous series to move within 4 points of the lead.

Current rankings[edit]

ICC Test Championship
Rank Team Matches Points Rating
1  India 32 3535 110
2  Australia 40 4376 109
3  South Africa 34 3703 109
4  Pakistan 28 2977 106
5  England 45 4610 102
6  New Zealand 36 3578 99
7  Sri Lanka 35 3123 89
8  West Indies 33 2504 76
9  Bangladesh 22 1026 47
10  Zimbabwe 10 53 5
Reference: ICC Rankings, 26 January 2016
"Matches" is no. matches + no. series played in the 12-24 months since the May before last, plus half the number in the 24 months before that.

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 3 77 123
 South Africa July 2014 January 2016 18 42 130
 India January 2016 Present - - 110
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 (112) from April 2000 to July 2009, the highest number of months ranked first (321) 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 May 2003 38
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 321 143
 West Indies 235 135
 England 106 125
 South Africa 48 135
 India 45 130
 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.[4]

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 the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales.[5][6] 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.

Test championship calculations[edit]

Each team scores points based on the results of their matches over the last 3−4 years. A series must include at least two Tests.

The rankings table gives the total points from all series played in the 12-24 months since the May before last, plus all the series played in the 24 months before that, for which the matches played and points earned both count half. Each May, the matches and points earned between 3 and 4 years ago are removed, and the matches and points earned between 1 and 2 years ago switch from 100% weighting to 50% weighting. For example, at May 2014, the matches played between May 2010 and May 2011 were removed, and the matches played between May 2012 and May 2013 switched to 50% weighting. This happens overnight, so can result in teams changing positions in the ranking table despite not playing. ICC Test Championship weightings

Each time two teams complete another series, the rankings tables is updated as described below, based on the Ratings of the teams immediately before they played.[7][8]

Step 1. Find the series points for each team[edit]

  • Award 1 point to a team for each match won
  • Award ½ point to a team for each match drawn or tied
  • Award 1 bonus point to the team winning the series
  • Award ½ bonus point to each team if the series is drawn

Step 2. Convert these series points to actual ratings points[edit]

If the gap between the ratings of the two teams at the commencement of the series was less than 40 points[edit]

The ratings points for each team equals:

(The team's own series points) x (The opponent's rating points + 50) + (The opponent's series points) x (The opponent's rating points − 50)

As each match won earns a team 1 series point and their opponent 0, losing earns them 0 series points and their opponent 1, and drawing earns both teams ½ series point, each match played therefore earns teams ratings points as follows:

Single match result Ratings points earned
Win Opponent's rating points + 50
Draw or tie Opponent's rating points
Lose Opponent's rating points − 50

As this formula only applies when the gap between the ratings of the two teams at the start of the series was less than 40 points, winning a match will always earn a team more rating points than they already had, and losing a match will always earn a team less rating points than they already had. Drawing a match will earn the weaker team more points than they already had, and the stronger team fewer points than they already had.

The difference between winning and losing a single match is therefore 100 points. Also, whether the outcome of a match is a win & lose or a draw, the total rating points earned by the two teams from that match will be the sum of the two teams' rating points before the series began. The total rating points earned from a series will therefore equal the sum of the two teams' rating points before the series began multiplied by (the number of matches + 1).

If the gap between the ratings of the two teams at the commencement of the series was more than or equal to 40 points[edit]

The ratings points for the stronger team equals:

(The team's own series points) x (The team's own rating points + 10) + (The opponent's series points) x (The team's own rating points − 90)

and the ratings points for the weaker team equals:

(The team's own series points) x (The team's own rating points + 90) + (The opponent's series points) x (The team's own rating points − 10).

As above, each match played therefore earns teams ratings points as follows:

Single match result Ratings points earned
Stronger team wins Own rating points + 10
Weaker team loses Own rating points − 10
Stronger team draws or ties Own rating points − 40
Weaker team draws or ties Own rating points + 40
Stronger team loses Own rating points − 90
Weaker team wins Own rating points + 90

Therefore, again, winning a match will always earn a team more rating points than they already had, and losing a match will always earn a team less rating points than they already had. Drawing a match will earn the weaker team more points than they already had, and the stronger team fewer points than they already had.

For both teams the difference between winning and losing a single match is still 100 points. Also, whichever of the three outcomes happens, the total rating points earned by the two teams from that match will be the sum of the two teams' rating points before the series began.

Step 3. Update the ranking table[edit]

  • Add the ratings points scored by each team to their total ratings points already scored (in previous matches).
  • Update the number of matches played by each team by 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 total by the updated number of matches to get the updated Rating.

Example[edit]

Suppose two teams, initially separated by 30 Rating points, play a 3-match series, and the team with the higher initial rating wins 2-1:

Team Ratings before the series The series Ratings after the series
Matches Points Rating Matches won Matches drawn Series points Ratings points Matches Points Rating
A 30 3600 120 2 0 3 3x(90+50) + 1x(90-50) = 460 30+3+1=34 3600+460=4060 119.4
B 36 3240 90 1 0 1 1x(120+50) + 3x(120-50) = 380 36+3+1=40 3240+380=3620 90.5
  • The total Ratings points available from the series (460+380=840) is the same as the initial Ratings of the teams multiplied by the number of Series points available ((120+90)x4=840).
  • The two teams' total Rating points is almost exactly the same after the series (119.4+90.5=209.9) as before the series (120+90=210). The series has therefore not generated any extra Rating points, but has just redistributed the Ratings the two teams already had. When these Ratings are published in the official table in their rounded form (119 and 91), the total Rating points after the series will be exactly the same as before the series. There is therefore no points 'inflation' in this system, which means that comparisons of ratings over time are meaningful.[9]
  • Despite winning the series, Team A's Rating has reduced, and despite losing the series, Team B's Rating has increased. If Team A had won the series 3-0 then its Rating would have increased to 122.4.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ cricketnext – England presented with Test mace. Retrieved 22 August 2011
  2. ^ "Outcomes from the ICC Board and Committee meetings". ICC. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "ICC Ratings Update". ICC. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Waugh receives ICC Test trophy | Cricket News | Global". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  5. ^ "ICC news: Lorgat hints at Test championship in 2013 | Cricket News | Cricinfo ICC Site". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  6. ^ "ICC news: ICC could use 'timeless' Test for World Championship final | Cricket News | Cricinfo ICC Site". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  7. ^ "Understanding the ICC rankings system". ESPN Cricinfo. 2015-05-12. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  8. ^ "World Championship for Test Cricket". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  9. ^ "FAQs on ICC Test Team Rankings". Qn2, ICC. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 

External links[edit]