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50 and a wicket for Pakistan on Test debut

Faheem Ashraf becomes the first Pakistani to score a 50 and take a wicket in his first over on Test debut.


Consolidated ICC Team Rankings

After the Annual Update, the ranking tables for all three formats have been announced.

England claimed the number 1 ranking in ODIs, while Pakistan and India retained their number 1 ranking in T20I and Test formats, respectively. 

ICC Rankings provides a good measure to benchmark International Cricket teams against each other. It takes into account the recent performance of both teams before awarding points to competing teams for any match. The mechanism provides a fair idea of which teams are performing well or worse, in the International Circuit.

However, the picture painted by ICC Rankings remain strictly confined to the boundaries of respective formats. Excessive success or failure in one format simply carries no effect in the rankings of the other format. Conversely, people also tend to consider the standing of a team in all three formats to ascertain its overall standing in the Cricketing World.

Just to follow through on that thought, here is a consolidated view of all International Teams across the formats

ICC Rankings table is designed in a way where a rating of 100 points is considered the par score and this remains true for Rankings tables in all three formats. Therefore, equal weightage has been given to each format for the purpose of this calculation. The rating points of teams in different formats have been simply added to extract an overall rating of the teams.

Ranking data source: as of 3 May 2018

The table provides a good status report of teams where a team is not only competing with other teams in a particular format but it is also competing with itself in other formats. These self-comparisons tell some interesting stories. But before coming to it, it would be better to discuss a bit more about a few aspects of ICC rankings.

Along with ranking teams in an order, the basic concept of ICC Rankings is to provide performance benchmarks. Unlike equating all number 1 ranked teams , the ratings in ICC Ranking also provides the quantifiable magnitude of teams' performances.
For instance, Australia won the 2003 and 2007 World Cups without losing a single match whereas, in the 1999 edition, it came from a position of must-win situation to win the tournament. Similarly, in 1992 World Cup, Pakistan won the tournament even after winning lesser number of matches in total than England and New Zealand. But in the context of the tournament history, Australia’s world cup wins in 2003 and 2007 are considered as equal as Pakistan’s win in 1992 or Australia’s own in 1999.

The ratings system provides the opportunity where a team’s ranking can be measured by its same ranking in a different period. The different points slabs in ratings helps in exploring this opportunity. For this purpose, the performance of teams  can be interpreted as per the following point slabs:

100 – 110 – just above par
90 – 100 – just below par
120+ - consistently good
130+ - exceptional
140+ - outstanding and rare
80 – 90 – consistently below par
70 – 80 – consistently bad
Below 70 – consistently disappointing

Since the amount of rating points a team earns for a match depends on opponent’s rating points before a match, the higher a team goes in the ratings, the more difficult it becomes for that team to increase it’s ratings points. Therefore, it is rare to see a team with a current rating of more than 135.

Now, looking at the consolidated rankings table, it gives a fair idea of how different teams are doing in Cricketing World. India has been performing consistently good across all formats. They are winning more times against the top sides than losing.
On the other hand, South Africa and New Zealand have been performing well enough across the formats but they are neither dominating nor struggling in any format.
England have been good in ODIs recently, doing reasonably well in T20Is while, in Test format, they are trying to catch up with top teams.
Australia have managed success in T20Is, in recent times, but their performance in Tests and ODIs has  not been as good, recently, as Australian sides in the past.

Pakistan, although, has managed to outperform all other teams in T20Is, recently, but they are struggling in Test format, and their ODI performance has just been average – though, an achievement in itself considering where they were some years ago.
Sri Lanka is simply struggling in all formats. Their performance in all formats is on decline since the departure of their legendary duo of Sangakkara and Jayawardene in 2015.
Windies have been a disappointment in Tests and ODIs although they have managed to do comparatively well in T20Is, recently, including winning the WT20 in 2016.
Bangladesh is still trying to find its feet in the league of top Cricketing nations while, at the same time, Afghanistan is on the rise and with their induction in the Test rankings, they look on course to outperform Bangladesh, Windies and Sri Lanka in a few years.


ICC Test Rankings Update 2018 - Comparison of Updated Team Ranking and Rating with last update

As part of annual process, ICC has announced the updated Test Rankings Table.

In terms of Rankings, there are only a couple of changes in the table. However, there have been slight changes in Ratings of some of the teams. Following are the official changes circulated by ICC earlier today:

MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings (as on 1 May, following the annual update):

Rank    Team              Points
1          India                 125 (+4)
2          South Africa      112 (-5)
3          Australia            106 (+4)
4          New Zealand     102 (-)
5          England             98 (+1)
6          Sri Lanka          94 (-1)
7          Pakistan             86 (-2)
8          Bangladesh       75 (+4)
9          Windies              67 (-5)
10         Zimbabwe            2 (+1)

More details are also available on ICC's website

The Rankings calculation includes performance during the last 36 to 48 months and changes in ranking and/or rating as a result of annual update of any year does not necessarily reflect on the performance of the teams in the past year - since the last annual update.

In addition to the benchmark view that ICC Rankings provide, for a period of upto 48 months, here is a quick comparison of team ratings and rankings as it stand after this year's annual update with the result of last annual update which was announced on May 18, 2017.


On BBC Urdu - Brief discussion on ICC Rankings Update

Audio clip of brief interview by Abdul Rasheed Shakoor for BBC Urdu's weekly show کھیل کے میدان سے


Not a lot of changes in ICC Team Rankings after this year's annual update

Its that time of the year when ICC Team Rankings change overnight. On 1 May every year, ICC normalizes its ranking data to ensure the rankings reflect a standing based on more recent form of International teams. On this date, performance in any matches took place earlier than 3 years gets discarded from the calculations while the weightage of all performances between the last annual update and the 12 months before that is reduced to half.

In the past, Cricket world has witnessed quite a few changes in the rankings table as a result of such annual ranking updates. However, this year’s annual update is expected to bring much lesser number of changes in the team standings. There will still be quite a few eye-catching changes in the ratings of teams but the rankings overall rankings in ODIs and T20Is are expected to remain pretty much the same.

In ODI format, after the annual update of ICC ODI Rankings, the rankings of only 4 - out of 12 officially ranked ODI teams by ICC - are expected to change. England will replace India as the leader of the pack - India will drop to number 2 - while New Zealand and South Africa will swap places at number 3 and 4. Rest of the team rankings will remain the same. READ MORE

In T20I format, the annual update of ICC T20I Rankings is going to bring similar changes. South Africa and England will swap places at number 5 and 6. Afghanistan will leap over Sri Lanka at number 8, Scotland might* replace Bangladesh at number 10 and Netherlands might* swap places with Zimbabwe at 12 and 13. (In case of minor teams who have not a played enough matches as compared to Test Playing Nations, ICC may apply special formulas to allocate the final rating points). READ MORE

Overall, there will be no change of more than one position in either ODI or T20I rankings of the top Cricketing nations in the world.. The ranking of Pakistan, Australia and West Indies will see no change after the annual update of ICC ODI and T20I Rankings.

All future calculations are for indicative purposes only & are based on information publicly available about Rankings formulas & rankings at different points in time; minor variation with official update is possible
Official status to be shared ICC in coming weeks.

From the Vault:
More about similar analysis done at the time of last annual rankings update in May 2017



ICC T20I Rankings Annual Update - No change in Top 4

South Africa will swap places with England at rank 5 and 6 in official ICC T20I Rankings update after this year’s annual update. The top 4 T20I teams - Pakistan, Australia, India and New Zealand - and 7th ranked West Indies will retain their current rankings.
Afghanistan will swap places at 8 and 9 with Sri Lanka while Scotland is expected to do the same at 10 and 11 with Bangladesh and Netherlands with Zimbabwe at 12 and 13. Since the T20I teams from non-Test playing nations haven’t played T20Is with same frequency as of T20I teams from Test Playing nations, ICC is expected to apply special formulas for their comparative rankings.

Similarly, in terms of rating points - the fundamental factor in the rankings that is awarded for each match based on the latest ranking of the opponent before that particular match - the impact of annual update on Teams' rating points will not be of any major significance.
However, in terms of teams earning the highest rating points in the last ICC T20I Rankings Season - May 2017 to April 2018 - Australia finishes at the top, followed closely by Pakistan.
Australia accumulated 155 rating points in this period which is incredible in itself, however, this tally was 44 points more than what they had on May 1, 2017 which makes the last season of ICC T20I Rankings even more remarkable for Australians.
Instead, if the performance of T20I teams during May 2017 and April 2018 is compared with their current rating points, Australia's performance still stands out.

The other team that performed even higher than outstanding benchmark was Pakistan who amassed 150 rating points in this period. This is the second successive ICC Ranking Season in which Pakistan achieved more than 150 rating points; the last season they compiled 155 rating points. As a result Fof these consistently outstanding performances, Pakistan became the number 1 T20I team in the world for the first time since the commencement of official ICC T20I Rankings in 2012.

To conclude this brief analysis, here is a quick view of how T20I Teams have progressed since the last annual update of ICC T20I Rankings

All future calculations are for indicative purposes only & are based on information publicly available about Rankings formulas & rankings at different points in time; minor variation with official update is possible
Official status to be shared ICC in coming weeks.


England to claim number 1 ODI Ranking after annual update

England will return to the top spot, for the first time since December 2012, at the annual update of the Rankings on May 1, 2018. The overall rankings will remain pretty much the same with only 4 teams exchanging positions in the table. England will replace India at the top while New Zealand will replace South Africa at number 3. There will be no change of ranking for eight other ranked teams.
In terms of Rating, 4 teams – England, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe – will benefit from the annual update while rating of 6 teams – New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia – will take a blow. The rating of Bangladesh and India will only have fractional impact of this year’s update.

More specifically, this is how the 12 ranked ODI teams have performed in terms of rating since the last rankings update on May 1, 2017.
The ICC Rankings works on a weighted average model for a period of last 36 to 48 months. Every team is awarded rating points for each match it plays within the last 36 to 48 months. The rating points earned since the last annual update carries full weight while the weightage of rating points earned for matches played between the last and the third last annual update is halved. Since 2013, ICC applies the annual update on May 1 every year.

On May 1, 2018, the weightage of rating points earned between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017 will be reduced to half while performances before May 1, 2015 shall be expunged from the calculations. It will be the first ICC Rankings table free of any impact of performances during 2015 ICC Cricket World or earlier.

England and Pakistan come out as the top gainers of 2018 update. Unsurprisingly, these two teams were the most disappointing performers of 2015 World Cup. Both of them were carrying the burden of below-par performances in 2015 World Cup and earlier, and as soon as those performances have been discarded from the equation, their ratings improve substantially.

From the nightmare of failing to qualify for the Quarter Finals of 2015 World Cup to reclaiming the throne within three years, it has been a fascinating tale of resurgence of English Cricket. They had slipped to number 6 in February 2015 and touched their lowest rating points tally of 94 in May 2015. Since then, their rejigged method and approach to ODI Cricket has been bringing them the results and, finally, it has put them back to the top of ICC ODI Rankings table.

The other team whose performance catches the attention is Pakistan. Around 19 months ago, they had slipped to their worst ever rating points tally of 84 while at the start of last ICC ODI Rankings season, they were facing an embarrassing possibility of missing the direct qualification for 2019 World Cup. Since then, it has been a fascinating revival that saw them accumulate highest number of ranking points in any ICC ODI Rankings Season in last 5 years. This is also the first time in 5 years that their Season tally has gone beyond the benchmark of 100 rating points.

The next part of this review of annual ICC ODI Rankings Update will cover more in-depth details and analysis of ODI teams in corresponding period. Here is the summary view of how ODI teams have performed in ICC ODI Rankings since the last annual update, to conclude this part, for now.

All future calculations are for indicative purposes only & are based on information publicly available about Rankings formulas & rankings at different points in time; minor variation with official update is possible
Official status to be shared ICC in coming weeks.


PSL3 Points Table Predictor

As the tournament approaches half way stage of the league round, the curiosity, discussions and debates have already begun. Fans of Lahore Qalandars are especially interested in permutations and possibilities that can take Lahore Qalandars into the next round.

The good news for LQ fans is that, even after the dismal performance of their team, mathematically, their team is still in the race. What combination of results can take Lahore to the next round? Here's a predictor that provides the means to satisfy that curiosity. All you have to do is to select the winner of remaining matches and the predictor table updates automatically.

Before getting on the game of predictions, do keep in mind a few rules of the game here:

  • The predicted table predicts the final tally of team points only at the end of league round with no calculation of Run Rates or Net Run Rates. 
  • The final standing of the teams, in case of teams tied at equal points, will be determined by NRR and other subsequent methods applied in PSL.
  • The default result for all remaining matches have been set to 'abandoned'; this is to answer the hypothetical scenario of what if all the remaining matches are washed out.
That's it. Let the predictions begin, may the calculator be with you.


Departmental One Day Tournament – Battle for the Semis

The league stage of Departmental One Day Tournament has entered into its final round with all 8 teams to play one final game before the knock out round – 2 Semi Finals and Final. Last day of the league stages will see 8 teams lock horns with each other with Semi Final berths still up for grabs.

UBL has clearly outperformed all other competitors. Winning 6 out of 6, and remaining the only undefeated side in the competition, UBL is already beyond the reach of other teams. Outcomes on the last day of the League round will not affect UBL’s position at the top.

There are two other teams whose positions will not be impacted with the results on the day, KRL and NBP. After winning only one and none, respectively, both KRL and NBP are out of the race. That makes the match between the league leader UBL and team ranked second from the bottom, KRL, a dead rubber.

However, the match between NBP, the team positioned at the bottom and WAPDA, the team currently at number 3 in the points table, is still pretty significant for the tournament. This is all because of the suffocatingly-tight competition among the 5 teams, currently placed 2nd to 6th in the points table.
The competition between these 5 teams – PTV, WAPDA, SSGC, SNGPL and HBL –  stands as fascinating and cutthroat as it can ever get. These teams are currently separated with only 2 points between them. None of them is confirmed for the Semi Finals, yet. But they all will take the field, in the last match of the round, with a genuine chance to occupy a Semi Final berth.

In the other two matches on the Final day of the league stages, 2nd ranked PTV will take on 4th ranked SSGC while 5th ranked SNGPL will square off with HBL. Here’s a look at possible outcomes and qualification scenarios.

  • If WAPDA wins against NBP:
    • and PTV wins against SSGC:
      • PTV will qualify (most probably at number 2, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and WAPDA vs NBP matches)
      • WAPDA will qualify (most probably at number 3, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and WAPDA vs NBP matches)
      • Winner of SNGPL and HBL will finish number 4 – only team with 8 points
      • SSGC will fail to qualify (most probably finish at number 5, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and SNGPL vs HBL matches)
    • If PTV loses against SSGC
      • WAPDA will qualify, finishing at number 2 – only team with 10 points
      • 3 teams will be tied at 8 points – PTV, SSGC and winner of SNGPL vs HBL
      • SSGC will go to number 3 [SSGC’s current NRR is 0.722 which is only going to get better in case of a win]
      • If SNGPL wins against HBL:
      • Most probably, PTV will finish 4th and SNGPL on 5th (unless PTV faces a thrashing defeat and SNGPL scores a thumping win)
      • If HBL wins against SNGPL:
      • PTV will finish 4th and HBL on 5th. HBL can not cover up in one game for the extremely bad NRR.
  • If WAPDA loses against NBP:
    • and PTV wins against SSGC:
      • PTV will qualify, finishing at number 2 with 10 points
      • WAPDA and winner of SNGPL vs HBL (tied at 8 points) will go through
      • If SNGPL wins: SNGPL will finish 3rd and WAPDA 4th
      • IF HBL wins: WAPDA will finish 3rd and HBL 4th
      • SSGC will drop to number 5 or lower
    • IF PTV loses against SSGC:
      • 4 teams will be tied at 8 points – PTV, WAPDA, SSGC and winner of SNGPL vs HBL
      • SSGC will qualify (most probably at number 2, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and SNGPL vs HBL matches)
      • PTV will qualify (most probably at number 3, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and SNGPL vs HBL matches)
      • If SNGPL wins: SNGPL will qualify with NRR 0.069+ and WAPDA will drop to number 5 with NRR -0.031- . HBL will finish at 6th with 6 points.
      • If HBL wins: (Most likely, WAPDA will finish number 4th, HBL 5th and SNGPL 6th)

Following table provides a quick guide to possible outcomes and its likely impact on the final standings in the group:


Rising eagle eyeing elusive Kiwi

The Eagle, fresh from its fascinating flight at the ICC Champions Trophy, has landed down under. The target in sight, this time, is that elusive kiwi that has remained a tough prey to hunt, especially, in its own backyard.

The history of ODIs between the two sides coincides with the very first ODI these two sides ever played. They were the first opponent for each other in this format. Over the years, the two sides have faced-off 98 times in this format, where Pakistan won 53 times and Kiwis came out on top 42 times. Once the contest ended in a tie and twice without any result.
Over the years, the two sides have faced-off 98 times in this format, where Pakistan won 53 times and Kiwis came out on top 42 times 
Pakistan’s slight edge in bilateral contests is primarily based on Pakistan’s dominance over the opponent in multi-team tournaments and the bilateral encounters in Pakistan.
69 of those ODIs have been played as part of bilateral series while 29 were played during multi-team tournaments. The Kiwis have their noses in front, literally, with 34 wins to Pakistan’s 32 wins in those 69 bilateral encounters (1 tie, 2 n/r).
In multi-team tournaments, however, Pakistan has simply dominated with 21 wins in comparison to 8 wins of New Zealand in 29 contests. Similarly, New Zealand’s slight edge over Pakistan in bilateral contests (34-32) is primarily due to the dominance of Kiwis over the Eagles on Kiwi soil.
New Zealand’s 26 wins, out of total 34 in bilateral ODI series with Pakistan, have come in New Zealand while they have won only 3 in Pakistan and 5 at neutral venue. In comparison, Pakistan has won 13 bilateral contests in New Zealand, 16 in Pakistan and 3 on neutral venues.
The neutral venue in this context is UAE, the adopted home of Pakistan Cricket in recent years. Hence, if those games are also counted as Pakistan’s home games, Pakistan still maintain a clear lead of 19-8 at home in comparison to New Zealand’s dominance at home with 26-13.
If the mode of measurement is changed more specifically to the results of bilateral ODI series between the two sides then it paints even more interesting picture. There have been 19 bilateral ODI series played between Pakistan and New Zealand.11 of those ODI series have been played in New Zealand, 6 in Pakistan, while 2 have been staged in UAE. Only 1 of those 19 bilateral ODI series ended in a draw (2-2 in New Zealand in 1995/96).
It may come as a surprise to some, New Zealand has won more bilateral ODI series than Pakistan. New Zealand has won 11 of those series while Pakistan managed to come out victorious on 7 occasions. Out of Pakistan’s 7 ODI series wins against the Kiwis, 5 have come at home and none at the neutral venue (UAE).
On the other hand, New Zealand has won 8 out of 11 ODI series at home, 1 out of 6 in Pakistan and 2 out of 2 in UAE.New Zealand’s only series win against Pakistan in Pakistan came in the very first bilateral series of the two sides in Pakistan, back in 1976/77 when the visitors won the 1 match series 1-0. The two teams have played 2 ODI series in UAE, both won by New Zealand.
Pakistan managed to defeat New Zealand in New Zealand in an ODI series only twice – once when Pakistan’s World Champion side defeated New Zealand 3-1 in 1993/94 and then just before the 2011 World Cup when Pakistan beat New Zealand 3-2 in New Zealand.
Since the last time these two sides met in an ODI series, in New Zealand in 2015/16, New Zealand has played 8 bilateral ODI series while Pakistan has participated in 6.During this period, Pakistan, played 4 away series – against Ireland, England, Australia and West Indies – winning against Ireland and West Indies.
Meanwhile, New Zealand played 5 home series – two against Australia, one against Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies each – and managed to win all except against South Africa. In a nutshell, Pakistan hasn’t won anything notable away from home while New Zealand hasn’t lost much at home.
8-2 and 26-13 (New Zealand’s tally in bilateral ODI Series and ODIs respectively) simply goes to show how elusive the win against New Zealand in New Zealand has been for Pakistan. This is one elusive kiwi that the eagle has failed to tame often enough. Would this contingent of eagles be able to tame the kiwis this time? Only time will tell. The eagle is on the rise, again.
Just recently, from the one being in danger of missing out the direct qualification for the next World Cup, they flew to the top of the world. Nothing looks undoable for this pack of eagles. Will they succeed? May the luck be on the best side’s side.

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