ICC Frequently Asked Questions

A selection of Frequently Asked Questions follows, to submit a new question, please use the Contact Us page to do so.


What do the ratings measure?

Think of the Reliance Mobile ICC ratings as a system for identifying the players who could be selected for an ICC World XI if it was picked today. Take a look at the latest top tens, and you should find that most of the players at the top would be candidates for your current World XI. The ratings have often been described as a measure of form, but this is a simplification. A form rating would only look at what a player has done in (say) the last year, whereas our ratings take into account a player's entire career - though they put more emphasis on what he has done recently.

How do you decide who is or isn't included in the list?

Players have to have appeared in a match within the qualifying period to appear in the lists (normally 12-15 months for Tests, 6-12 months for ODIs). For example, Anil Kumble disappeared from the ratings lists for a while in 2001 because he hadn't played a Test for over a year, but he reappeared as soon as he played his next Test. If a player confirms his retirement he is also removed from the list. So, for example, Darren Gough was removed from the Test ratings in August 2003 (though he remained in the ODI list because he hadn't retired from that form of the game). Players are in the rankings as soon as they complete a match. However, we only publish the top 100 players (at most), so it can take several matches for a player to break into that.

When are the Ratings updated?

Our normal practice is to update the Test ratings after each Test match (usually within 12 hours) and ODI ratings at the end of each ODI series. We try not to publish Test ratings if another Test match is currently in progress. However, if there are lots of overlapping Test matches running into each other we try to be more flexible so that the Ratings on the website don't get too out of date.

What happens to a player's rating if he plays but does not bat/bowl ?

If a batsman does not bat, his rating is unchanged. We don't want the ratings to punish a player when he hasn't done anything wrong (and it would be tough if, for example, rain wiped out an innings causing all the team to lose points). The situation with bowlers is slightly different. If the opposition are bowled out for less than 150, then a bowler who has not bowled, is not penalised (conditions obviously suited the other bowlers, and his services weren't needed).

What does it mean to have, say, 500 points?

Ratings points have a meaning in the same way as traditional averages do. Over 900 points is a supreme achievement. Few players get there, and even fewer stay there for long. 700 plus is normally enough to put a player in the world top ten. 500 plus is a good, solid rating.

What about ratings for wicket-keepers?

The challenge is to find a fair way of rating a keeper. You can't just rate him on catches and stumpings taken, since these are highly dependent on the bowler creating these chances (how many chances did Warne create for Healy, for example?). No accurate details are kept historically on missed chances, and in any case what is a missed chance? Perhaps Alan Knott 'missed' chances that other keepers wouldn't even have got to. So, as with other fielding skills, we won't attempt to produce a rating since we aren't convinced it would be credible.

Who decides how good the pitch is?

Nobody does. There is a common misconception that there is an expert panel that sits down to assess the pitch in each match. In fact, all the Ratings calculations are based purely on the information in the scorecard (as you would find published in a newspaper). If both teams score 500 in each innings, the computer rates this as a high-scoring match in which run-making was relatively easy, and therefore downgrades the value of runs scored. If both teams score 150, this indicates that runs were at a premium and a player gets greater credit for scoring well in this game.

How do you rate all-rounders?

We have devised an all-rounder index that gives a good indication of who the best all-rounders in the world are in Test and One Day cricket. To obtain the index, simply take the player's batting and bowling points, multiply them together and divide by 1000. So a player with 800 batting and 0 bowling gets an index of zero (because he can't bowl and therefore isn't an all-rounder!), 600 batting/200 bowling gets 120, and 400 batting/400 bowling points gets an index of 160. An index of 300 plus is world class. There are far more all-rounders in ODIs than Tests, but the same names tend to appear high in both lists. Incidentally, this index does omit one important all-rounder skill, namely fielding. There is no satisfactory way of rating fielding skills statistically at present.

Is it harder to score points against some of the lower ranked teams than it might be to score points against the higher teams?

Because the ratings take account of the opposition strength, there shouldn't be any obvious advantage to playing against any particular team. Of course that's not to say that certain individuals do seem to play better against certain opposition or on certain types of pitch.

What is the best way to determine the "best players of all time". Can you produce a definitive list?

The ratings represent a player's standing have compiled a list of "best-ever ratings" which are effectively snapshots of greatness. When it comes to judging a player's greatness over his career, it's necessary to look at his entire graph rather than his peak. It's not so much how high a player gets as how long he stays there. If you think of a player's rating graph as being the shape of a mountain, then the greats will have graphs shaped more like Kilimanjaro than the Matterhorn. Hence Tendulkar would be deemed greater than Clyde Walcott despite the latter's higher peak. One way of assessing a player would be to calculate his 'average rating' over his career though of course this could penalize a player whose long career included a slow start. So it's over to you to make your own judgment by comparing graphs, or by other more subjective means.

How do batsmen qualify for full points?

How are the Ratings updated?

At the end of a match, the scorecard is entered onto our computer. The computer performs a number of checks on the data to ensure that there are no errors (for example the number of runs + extras has to be the same as the total !) and then the ratings are calculated. Calculations used to take minutes in the early days of the ratings. Now they are updated in a microsecond!

What happens to a player's rating if they suffer a long-term injury?

A player who misses a game for his country is treated exactly the same whatever the reason (injury, poor form etc). In Tests, the player loses 1% of his points for each match missed, and a similar amount in ODIs.

Why isn't there a combined Test and ODI player list to determine who is the greatest all-round cricketer in all forms of the game?

We don't try to mix apples and pears, though the points scales are similar for the two forms of cricket, so it would not be completely unreasonable to add together a player's points for the two forms of the game to get a grand total. Readers are welcome to produce their own lists.

How can I tell who is the greatest Twenty20 international player?

Wait till there's been enough T20 cricket played...

How do you actually go about gathering the data required? Does some lucky person get to travel to the test arenas?

If only! The ratings are designed so they could be calculated using only the information that appears on a match scorecard. All of the ratings calculations are done using desktop technology. Of course as cricket-lovers we do watch cricket when we can, but that is not an essential part of running the ratings.

ICC Rankings
The Official Rankings for International Cricket!