It has been some time since I updated my index and quite a few things have happened since then. We have had some really good games. Of the major teams, only New Zealand have not played any Tests. Zimbabwe has not played any games either but they have more of a minnow status than Afghanistan and Ireland. To remove any anomalies I have placed a criterion that a team must play at least two games to be ranked. A player should play three innings to be ranked. This excludes Afghanistan and Ireland from the rankings.
This is more or less a midpoint of the cricket Test season. The result of the England and India Test series did not reflect how closely fought and intense the series was. The series between India and Windies was a complete whitewash. I expected more considering how they played against Sri Lanka. India came back nicely at home. Then came the series between Pakistan and Australia. I was looking forward to seeing how the new look Australia side would play. The draw of the first Test seemed that Australia was on the way up then came the second Test and everything fell apart. In between the England series and the Windies series; Virat Kohli lost his number one ranking to Steve Smith who is not even playing. This if any is another reason to have a more thorough look at the official ICC ranking. It should not come to an equivalent position of South Africa needing 22 to win in 1 ball. That match resulted in the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method. I do believe the VJD Method is superior to DLS but that discussion is for another day.
As of the end of the series between Pakistan and Australia the rankings are below.
India’s significant victory over the Windies pushed them into first place. Australia played sufficiently enough to make a decent entrance into the ranking system.
The top players are below.
Virat Kohli’s performance is clearly reflected in the rankings. Jos Buttler has done extremely well too. The risk of playing him went extremely well for England.
The bowling list is exciting. The diversity is remarkable. The surprising thing is India does not have any bowler in the top five.
The all roundskills of Jason Holder clearly have put him ahead of the pack. Rishab Pant is the rising star of the list. I expect Ben Stokes and Sam Curran to break into this list after the first test of the winter tour.
Choosing this side was difficult. I had to leave out Jos Buttler, put Joe Root in a position he plays in but doesn’t like to play at. I was essentially looking for six bowlers. Four seamers and two spinners. The openers were a fairly easy pick because Alastair Cook retired. Pujara plays at number three but he has not done enough with the bat to cement a place.
Virat Kohli at 4 is an absolute no-brainer. The number 5 position was difficult to fill. Rahane, Roston Chase, Jonny Bairstow were all up for it. I decided to go with Ben Stokes to achieve a better balance to the side. Rishab Pant has done extremely well at 6 and he is a good wicket keeper.
Holder, Abbas and Anderson are the other seamers with Ashwin and Jadeja being the spinners.
The big name that is missing is Jos Buttler. Unfortunately, that is what happens when you have a specialist batsman at 7. There is the option of appointing Buttler as the keeper but that would be a temporary solution. I would place Buttler as the 12th man.
As always I look forward to your thoughts and comments.