ICC Test Rankings As World Test Championship (WTC) New Cycle Starts. The ICC Test rankings are something of a badge of honor for cricket nations, swelling pride and confidence in the team and their support. While, at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean that the top-ranked team is going to win every current match, it’s a good guidepost to the current form.
But for punters and visitors to CBA sites, it’s important to understand that any rankings are based on restrictive metrics. In the case of Test cricket, rankings simply can’t, for example, replace pre-match analysis when it comes to making betting predictions.
India is currently at the top of the rankings. But as any cricket fan will know, everything changes. A rain delay in a five-day Test Match can shift the fixture’s entire complex; similarly, the ICC Test rankings will change as teams come in and out of form.
The Test Nations
Twelve full ICC members exist in Test Cricket, although due to scheduling. it feels like a lot fewer. Bangladesh were the latest nation to join the elite ranks, earning their Test status in November 2000. The longevity of the sport is highlighted by the fact that Australia and England became the first Test nations back in 1877.
Countries and their current ICC Men’s test rankings
- Afghanistan —
- Australia– 2
- Bangladesh– 9
- South Africa– 4
- England– 3
- India– 1
- New Zealand– 5
- Pakistan– 6
- Sri Lanka– 7
- West indies-8
Yet To Reach The Top
Four of the Test nations have yet to have a taste of what being called the number-one-ranked Test team is like. Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and Afghanistan are the ones who have yet to reach the summit.
Bangladesh aside, there is a difficult, Catch-22 scenario for the other three which unfortunately means they may never get there, simply because of not having the chance to do so. Why? The smaller cricket nations are extremely limited in the amount of Test matches that they play.
In 2019, the ICC World Test Championship was introduced, working on a points-based league format. Those points are earned for results in Test matches, over a two-year cycle.
The 2023-25 ICC World Test Championship kicked off with the brilliant 2023 Ashes series between England and Australia. That was five of the total of 69 matches that will be played in the tournament, one of 27 Test Series.
Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and Ireland do not participate in the ICC World Test Championship. That’s because they don’t carry the financial clout or resources to host or travel for long Test series. So they can’t get the important Test series booked, which is the very thing that would help them potentially climb the rankings.
Without a boost in Test matches, the better infrastructure is simply not going to happen for them. While the level of the WTC has helped to reignite interest in the Test format, the smaller nations and those associates trying to earn Test status, are at a significant disadvantage.
Since being granted their Test status, Ireland, for example, has played just seven Test matches in five years. Between 2017 and the start of 2023, Ireland, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan played just 23 Tests combined. It’s not the fault of the teams that are playing in the WTC, of course, but better solutions have to be out there.
Rising To The Top
Australia has been the most dominant team in the ICC Test Rankings since 2003. They are the only nation to have reached triple digits for the total number of months it has held the top spot in the rankings.
India are the next most successful nation, followed by South Africa. They are the only two teams besides Australia to have been at the top of the ICC World Rankings for more than 12 months in total.
The record for the longest spell at the top of the world rankings is held by Australia. From June 2003 to August 2009 when South Africa took over, Australia had spent a total of 74 months as the top-ranked team in the world. India’s best span was 43 months between October 2016 and May 2020. Currently India is the no 1 ICC test team.