The best Indian team ever?, ratings 8th October
Russell Degnan

3 TestsIndiavNew Zealand
Expected MarginIndia by 142 runs
Actual MarginIndia by 178 runs

This is the best team India has ever had. Certainly, that is a disputable point, but after their victory in the second Test India reached their highest ever rating. While they achieved the feat at home, against a relatively weak New Zealand side missing their best batsman and best bowler, in a match that went nearly exactly to script, they did so in a manner that past Indian teams generally would not.

In a low scoring match, they got contributions from Pujara and Rahane in the first innings, and Kohli, Sharma and Saha in the second. Kumar and Shami showed some tricks and speed in the first innings, taking 8 wickets, and Ashwin and Jadeja did the job in the second, with six. Unlike Indian sides of the past, built around awesome batting and spin bowlers but little else, this Indian side bats deep, they field well. It is young and improving with much to prove, though their recent away record is better than most with five wins and eight draws, but they aren't (yet) rated as a great team. Merely the best their nation has produced, and almost certainly the one with the most potential.

3 TestsPakistanvWest Indies
Expected MarginPakistan by 163 runs

Only three years ago these looked like two sides heading towards each other. Pakistan were ageing with few young batsmen on the horizon and their best bowlers suspended; the West Indies were bringing in youth and slowly climbing out of a twenty year hole. Since then, the former have got the injection of youth they required, a coach that brings the best out of those talents and some quality bowling. The latter have drifted, partly for administrative reasons, and partly as those young players have not developed, slipping further from the seven teams above them, as series after series results in heavy defeat.

This will most likely be no different. Pakistan are a much better side, playing at "home" with the recent successes of the English tour behind them. The West Indies still have started again with a young side that had its moments against India, but not enough to threaten a victory. The hope is that they'll continue to show enough to prevent this being an ugly series.

Rankings at 30th September 2016
5.South Africa1113.1
6.New Zealand1016.9
7.Sri Lanka981.7
8.West Indies826.1

16.Papua New Guinea228.1
18.Hong Kong217.0

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 8th October, 2016 13:28:28   [#]