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Fawad Alam - The Latest Enigma of Pakistan Cricket

He is deemed unsuitable for ODIs and T20Is because he is more of a Test player but he has played more ODIs (38) and T2OIs (24) for Pakistan than Tests (3). He is seen as someone physically weak and fragile, bound to collapse any time, but he outperforms all contemporaries in the toughest fitness Test.

In a Cricketing encampment where the convenient excuse for under performance has been the changing batting number – although, that excuse was never needed for Younus, Misbah or Azhar Ali – he was asked to open the innings, for the first time in his life, in his very first Test and he became the first Pakistani batsman to score a century on debut away from home. Six years on and he is yet to be considered good enough to play his 4th Test.
That’s Fawad Alam for you and that mysterious territory is Pakistan Cricket. With a First Class average of 56.71 in 125 matches and crossing the 50 mark in 75 times (24 hundreds, 51 fifties) out of 203 innings, he is still made to search for what he can do more to represent his country in Test Cricket.
He can’t play limited overs Cricket because he is a Test player and he can’t play Tests because he has a weak limited overs resume. He doesn’t seem physically fit to play and comes out as the fittest player. It can’t get any more mindboggling than this.
Perhaps, he has become the latest enigma of Pakistan Cricket, a mystery that the Pakistan Cricket Board is either unwilling or unable to resolve.

Net Ranking of Cricketing Nations

In case of Cricket, ICC’s Rankings stands as the established and indisputable standard to ascertain the standing of any team or a player in a particular format, therefore, its safe to use the same in order to ascertain the overall status of different Cricketing Nations. ICC maintains Rankings of players and teams for each format separately but does not maintain an overall standing or ranking across the formats. There can be a couple of options that can be applied to calculate the overall standings.

Method 1: Comparative Ranking Method

Every team is awarded Comparative Points equal to the number of teams that that team is ahead of in that particular format. Then Comparative Points of a team across all formats is simply added to find out cumulative Comparative Points of each team. Applying this method reveals the following:

About this method, its worth noting that since the ranking is comparative in nature, the more teams a particular team is ahead of, the more Comparative Points 
it will earn. For Example, New Zealand is ranked number 1, currently, in T20 rankings while Australia is ranked number 1 in Tests. But since, New Zealand is ahead of 16 other teams it will earn 16 Comparative Points  while Australia will earn 9 Comparative Points  for being number 1 in Tests. 

Method 2: Cumulative Ranking Points Method

Instead of Rankings which are comparative in nature, Ranking Points earned by each team in ICC Rankings across the formats are simply added to give Total Ranking Points earned by each team across the formats. Applying this method reveals the following:

At a glance, Cumulative Ranking Points Method looks better, however, Comparative Ranking Method has its own strength as it also factors in the competition each team faced to earn its ranking spot. Regardless of the method, the listings tell a pretty common story. Australia, India and New Zealand are the top Cricketing Nations at the moment while, after some fair gap, South Africa and England stands within the band of good competitive teams.

Interestingly, Pakistan still stands at number 6 overall in the world which looks a surprise considering Pakistan's current T20I ranking (7th) and ODI ranking (9th). This goes to show how extra ordinary Pakistan Test side has been as compared to its ODI and T20I sides.

Similarly, this overall ranking tell a different story about the state of Cricket in Caribbean. West Indies just recently became Men's T20 Champions, Women's T20 Champions and Under-19 Champions. However, their performance in Tests and ODIs is nowhere near of being champions; they stand 8th both in Tests and ODI rankings. 

Another overall ranking that catches attention is of Afghanistan. Afghanistan clearly stands at 'Giants amongst the Minnows' and stands at number 10 ahead of Zimbabwe - a Test Playing Nation - that tells a lot about the rapid and solid progression of Afghanistan Cricket. For a Sports desperately struggling for expansion of the game across the game and raising the competitiveness across the teams, the rise of Afghan Cricket is good news. 


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Discussion about ICC Rankings Update