Thursday, 23 April 2015

Rankings - What are they good for?

The ICC have announced this week that they are going to amalgamate the women's rankings into one overall ranking. I say they announced it, but actually it came under the heading of "Other Matters", which came out of the most recent Board Meeting. All that was said was - "A new rankings system has been approved for women’s cricket, incorporating results in all three formats into a single rankings system."

As things currently stand there are Women's T20 batting, bowling and all-rounder rankings and Women's ODI batting, bowling and all-rounder rankings. You can find them here. What happens is that at the end of each series the rankings of the player's who played are adjusted up or down to reflect their performance in that series. The idea is to show the reader who are the current best players in international cricket. There are no Women's Test rankings, presumably on the basis that there have only been five Tests in the last five years and four of those have involved England and three Australia.

I have to say that I am no fan of the Women's Rankings, which are apparently calculated by a complicated algorithm, which attempts to take into account all the factors involved in any game played, but seems to produce some very odd results. For example who would you say are the five top-ranked women T20 bowlers if I asked you? [in case you want to try I have listed them at the bottom of this piece - try not to cheat. How many did you get? - be honest now].

I am even less of a fan of a system which attempts to amalgamate three completely different formats into one overall ranking, one of which (Tests) is hardly played at all, and when it is, is only played by one or two of the top cricket nations. India's Test against England last summer was the first they had played for eight years, and the subsequent India v South Africa Test was the first South Africa had played for seven years, with the previous one having been played against the Netherlands. Charlotte Edwards has played 22 Tests. West Indies Stafanie Taylor and Kiwi Suzie Bates have played none, and there are no plans for them to play any in the near future (unless the ICC are not telling us something!).

Quite frankly whatever the ICC produces it will be a nonsense.

So if we cannot rely on the ICC Rankings for anything more than an idle topic of conversation over a pint or a glass of wine at your local clubhouse, what can we rely on? The answer of course is the stats!

As a former business manager and a cricketer of some years (and still counting), I have to confess a liking for stats, although I am no slave to them. In my view the longer a player plays the more relevant their stats become. So I went off to find the stats for the current England team and then the top 20 ranked batsmen in ODI cricket. I found the England ones quite easily on cricinfo, although they do think that Arran Brindle, Holly Colvin and Suzie Rowe are current players. But my research found nothing that compared players around the world, so I did it myself. I think the results are quite interesting. Even Stephen Fry might agree, but then he is a cricket buff too! I leave it to you to make what you will of the stats. I have run up two tables - by average and by strike rate. The number after the player's name is their current ICC ODI batting ranking.

Top ODI batsmen by average

Top ODI batsmen by strike rate

I suppose the question is if you had to pick six batsmen for your World XI, who would they be? I know mine, but I bet they are not the same as yours.

By the way the five top-ranked ICC T20 Bowlers are :-
1. Salma Khatun - Bangladesh
2. Morna Nielsen - New Zealand
3. Dani Hazell - England
4. Udeshika Prabodhani - Sri Lanka
5. Shanel Daley - West Indies



  1. Yes, i totally agree that the women cricket ranking needs to be different way!!

  2. It doesn't seem to me that the ICC are taking women's cricket too seriously with this pretty ridiculous idea of an amalgamated ratings system. That sounds like the job for the selectors of each individual country (to decide who *overall* are the best players) and is not in the ICC's purview to dictate. They should be collating and arranging data and basic statistics only in my view, and leave it up to the rest of us to play with the numbers as we see fit. I don't think they do this for the men's game do they?

    Well done for putting together the data tables though Martin. I've thought for a while now that Nicole Bolton had had a great start and excellent figures on paper but had never really checked, and it looks like that's true. She's far better than no. 25 in my view. Nice to see some NZ, SA and PAK players in there too.

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