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    March 14, 2008

    How does the ICC ODI ranking work?

    Australia's ODI record since 1 Jan 2005: Played 102, Won 70, Lost 25.

    South Africa's ODI record since 1 Jan 2005: Played 86, Won 60, Lost 22.

    Take away wallopings of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the other minnows and Australia's record is played 92, won 61, lost 24 (win % of 66, loss % of 26) while South Africa's is played 78, won 53, lost 21 (win % of 68, loss % of 27).

    Keep in mind though that both teams have lost to Bangladesh in this duration - Australia in England and South Africa at the 2007 World Cup.

    Their record against each other: Australia have won 7 while South Africa have won 4. South Africa's moments of glory were bundling Australia out for 93 and chasing down 434 in the GODOAT to win the series 3-2. On the other hand, Australia forced South Africa into self-destruct mode when Kallis scored 48(63) when the required runrate was 8 an over during the league game of the 2007 World Cup and then larruped them in the semi final.

    South Africa are now the #1 ODI side. Obviously Australia's losses in the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Commonwealth Bank Series did have an impact, but surely a World Cup win must count for something! But apparently not.

    In fact, the ICC rankings site says
    The weighting of 'matches' is reduced over time so does not reflect the full number of matches played in the rating period
    So, Australia's wins in 2007 should have a higher weightage comopared to South Africa's wins in 2006! Which is why, will someone please explain how the ICC ODI ranking system works?

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 7:30 pm |
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    2 sledge(s):

    I think the main thing with ICC's rankings is the starting number of points. I suspect Australia must have had a huge number of points to start off with, or at the end of WC. So each time they lose subsequently as in the CB series, the number of points they lose is calculated based on the difference between their current points and that of their opponents. So, their drop following every loss will be huge while their gain for every win will be small.

    I think it is a dumb system. I have done some calculations before to show that losing a 5-match series 2-3 can lead to better rating for you than winning the series 3-2. This happens if you lost the first three games and won the next two meaningless games because losing the first two games reduces your rating points even more and increases that of your opponents. So next time you win, since this difference is larger, you gain more points.

    By Blogger Vinod (18-Mar-2008, 7:53:00 pm)  

    One key element is the rating of the team you're playing against. Australia, by virtue of being #1, obviously play against 'worse' sides. Hence any loss to those sides would get magnified in comparison to wins against those sides.

    This is because the system probably assumes that #1 should always beat #2, and probably also assumes that #1 should beat #5 by a _huge_ margin when in fact the ratings are fairly clustered (#1 and #2, #3-#8) indicating reasonably evenly matched teams.

    Your point on winning 2 dead rubbers to gain more points is interesting. This means that there's no weightage to series wins!

    By Blogger Jagadish (20-Mar-2008, 1:25:00 pm)  

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