Ratings - 31st August 2010
Russell Degnan

Recently completed matches

3rd TestEnglandvPakistan
Expected MarginEngland by 93 runs
Actual MarginEngland by an innings and 225 runs

One of test cricket's more extraordinary scorecards, where two batsmen utterly dominated an otherwise horrendously low scoring game. Unfortunately, statistical anomalies in sport are often pointers to something darker, and while there is, as yet, no more than speculation to suggest that is the case, nor is there a compelling reason to dwell on the game, lest it makes the bitter taste linger. So too, the constant turmoil and inconsistencies that seem to plague Pakistani cricket now carry a harder edge. The rumours that followed the the disastrous tour of Australia, and the bizarre investigation that followed, now hint at more than just robust internal politics - but a shadowy mafia that thrives on machinations, threats, corruption and more.

Much angst has been tossed in the direction of the gambling entities that surround cricket in all countries, but that is a weak argument. Honest betting agencies and their punters lose too when cricket is corrupt. And cricket is corrupt, both behind the scenes and in plain view of everyone. Fixing spot bets is not easily done, the player must be paid beyond that which they stand to lose if caught, the bet must be small enough to evade notice. The scandal that befalls Pakistan also does so because they are criminally under-paid, beholden, by the rules governing international cricket, to play for a corrupt and bankrupt board, while inferior players play elsewhere for many times their salaries. India, England and Australia, each equally culpable in fighting against meaningful competition, to avoid revenue sharing, instead playing endless, pointless, matches, wherein even the most competitive minded player cares not for the result.

However, entrenched poverty, corruption, unfairness and the malaise that is slowly infecting every aspect of cricket is no excuse for doing what is wrong. Pakistan has a responsibility to the game, and they have too long shirked it, reaping rewards their weak internal structures and poorly developed markets can't provide for themselves. What the ICC does, and will do, including whether enough evidence even exists to convict players and officials who'll no doubt try and pervert justice again, is not for me to know. But I do know that these ratings are worthless if a team contrives to fix a result, even by a few runs. And for that reason, unless and until events prove otherwise, Pakistan are hereby suspended pending the investigation, their rating will be calculated but not published, their games neither mentioned nor celebrated.

Forthcoming matches

I-Cup MatchCanadavIreland
Expected MarginIreland by 140 runs

In theory, at least, Ireland can still make the final of the competition if they win here and against Zimbabwe handsomely, and Scotland lose. At this point it is not even clear if either of Zimbabwe's home games will take place, particularly Scotland's given they are covered by the same foreign policy as England. No matter, Ireland should be confident of rolling Canada, even without their county players. However, I'm hoping that Canada can put up a decent fight at home, as some of the I-Cup recently matches have been one-sided, weakening the case for a second tier associate/full member competition, if the weaker teams here are not competitive.

Rankings at 31st August 2010
3.South Africa1193.34
5.Sri Lanka1109.33
6.West Indies919.14
7.New Zealand917.91

21.Hong Kong148.65
22.Cayman Is134.24

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 1st September, 2010 01:15:30   [#] 


Ratings - 31st August 2010
I think you're being a bit hasty in taking Pakistan off the list. Let the charges be proven first.
Mahek  1st September, 2010 09:22:18  

Ratings - 31st August 2010
Mahek, fair point. I've modified the text but left Pakistan off. For two reasons. Firstly, the legal system regularly curtails liberties before sentencing, if there is good reason. And secondly, because the ratings are perverted by Pakistan's alleged actions now, not in 12 months or whenever. Even if it only amounts to 3 no-balls it still has an effect. In reality, Australia's position at number one has probably only been maintained because of a fake result, making the whole exercise a waste of time.
Russ  1st September, 2010 11:29:09  

Ratings - 31st August 2010
Russ: A strong but fair reaction. Too many excuses are made for Pakistan cricket's dysfunction. I'm glad the ICC saw fit to suspend the terrible trio but I'm not optimistic about what lies ahead.
Samir Chopra  6th September, 2010 08:01:26