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Data: 20 Batsmen, 25 Bowlers & 09 All-Rounders were at the top of ICC T20I rankings since 2005


Data of the ICC T20I rankings since 2005 indicates that a total of 20 different batsmen, 25 Bowlers & 09 All-Rounders were at the top of the rankings at least once. Out of the 25 Bowlers who held the top rank, 17 are Spinners while the remaining 08 are seam bowlers.

The 8th edition of the Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup in Australia has entered the later phase of the group stage, with all the Semi-final spots still up for grabs. While the performances of most of the favourite teams were as expected, there have been a few surprises along the way. 

Apart from the team performances, some of the individual performances have managed to grab the attention irrespective of the match results. 

While these performances would live in the memory of the cricket fans for some time to come, there is also a more tangible benefit in the form of improving their ICC rankings. The ICC rankings are indicative of the current form of the player, with each performance in ICC-sanctioned matches being tracked and rated.  Here is a look at the trends in ICC rankings of the players, specifically in the T20I format. 

What are ICC Rankings?

International Cricket Council (ICC) Player Rankings are the official player rankings issued by ICC, the governing body of Cricket. Referred to as MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings, it is a list where international cricket players’ performances are ranked using a points-based system. The players are rated on a scale of 0 to 1000 points. It is a moving average i.e.; the ratings are averaged by adding the latest performances. i.e., if a player performs better than his/her past record, the points increase or vice versa. The ranks are provided based on the ratings of the players. These ratings are provided across the three formats i.e., Tests, One Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 Internationals (T20Is). 

The Ratings are provided for both male & female players separately. Another segregation is based on the role i.e., Batsman, Bowler and Allrounder. Starting March 2021, ICC shifted to a weekly system of updating the player rankings. The rankings for men are updated on Wednesdays. 

In the latest updated T20I rankings, India’s Surya Kumar Yadav has claimed the top ranking, contributed by his recent form and his performances in the ongoing World cup. 

In this story, we look at the trends in Men’s T20I player rankings. The rankings are as of 14 October 2022 i.e., prior to the current T201 World cup. The data is obtained from the official ICC website

Pakistan’s Babar Azam holds the record for the highest number of days as the No.1 among Batsmen 

The first T20I was played on 17 February 2005, between Australia and New Zealand. Ricky Ponting, the captain of Australia top-scored with an unbeaten 98 runs. This is reflected in the first T20I ICC rankings, with Ricky Pointing being the first No.1 ranked batsman in T20Is. With fewer matches played in the initial years, Ricky Ponting held that position for over a year with 372 days.  Graeme Smith replaced Ricky Ponting at the end of February’2006 as the top-ranked T20I batsman in the world. He was the No.1 ranked player for 637 consecutive days. He was replaced at the top by Gautam Gambhir, who also became the first Indian batsman to be ranked No.1 in T20Is. 

A snapshot of Men’s T20I batting rankings: 

  • Since 2005, 20 different batsmen have been ranked No.1 at various points in time. 
  • These 20 batsmen belong to eight different countries. Australia has the highest number of batsmen at No.1 with five – Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, and Aaron Finch. 
  • Pakistan’s Babar Azam was at No.1 for the most consecutive days with 670 days. This reign at the top was between 04 November 2018 and 03 November 2020. He beat Virat Kohli’s earlier record of 646 consecutive days at top of the rankings for batsmen. 
  • Babar Azam also leads the total number of days at top of the rankings. He was No.1 for a total of 1087 days. The earlier record was of Virat Kohli who was the top-ranked player for an overall 1013 days. 
  • India has three batsmen who topped the ICC rankings for T20I batsmen – Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Surya Kumar Yadav. As highlighted earlier, Surya Kumar has reclaimed the No.1 spot in the rankings released this week. He was earlier at the top for two days. 
  • England’s Dawid Malan has the highest rating in Men’s T20I rankings history. He achieved a rating of 915 during the period 01 December 2020 to 11 March 2021. The only other batsman and the first one to achieve a rating of 900 or above was Aaron Finch. He achieved the rating of 900 on 03 September 2018. 

Rashid Khan was at No.1 for the greatest number of consecutive days among bowlers 

Australia’s Michael Kasprowicz took four wickets in the first T20I match between Australia & New Zealand, helping him to become the first bowler to achieve the No.1 ranking in T20Is for bowlers. Like his compatriot Ricky Ponting, he held on to the position for a long period of time i.e., 246 days, until he was replaced by another Australian, Brett Lee. 

The No.1 ranking juggled between Brett Lee and New Zealand’s Andre Adams until Andrew Symonds of Australia held it for a considerable period of time. His two tenures as the No.1 ranked T20I bowler in the world were for 351 and 247 days. 

A Snapshot of Men’s T20I bowler rankings: 

  • Afghanistan’s leg spinner Rashid Khan holds both the records of the most number of days and most consecutive number of days as the No.1 T20I bowler. Rashid Khan was consecutively ranked the No.1 T20I bowler for 764 days, breaking the earlier record of West Indian spinner Samuel Badree’s 596 consecutive days. 
  • The top-5 among the bowlers with the highest number of total days at top of the rankings are all held by spinners. Rashid Khan is the No.1 ranked bowler for 1136 days, followed by Samuel Badree. New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori, Andrew Symonds, and another West Indian Sunil Narine make up the rest of the top 5. 
  • Pakistan’s Umar Gul holds the record for the bowler with the highest rating achieved. He achieved a rating of 857 for a brief period between 13 June 2009 and 17 June 2009. No other bowler managed to break that rating ever since. The only other two bowlers to have a rating of 850 and above are Daniel Vettori (850) and Samuel Badree (855). 
  • 25 individual bowlers have topped the rankings. They belong to 10 different countries, with Australia accounting for the most bowlers topping the rankings with six. Pakistan and New Zealand have 4 bowlers each. 
  • Only one Indian Bowler, Jasprit Bumrah was ranked No.1 in T201s. He was top of the rankings for a total of 53 days. Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav achieved the No.2 ranking.  
  • Spin bowlers have dominated the No.1 ranking, as only 8 seam bowlers were ever ranked No.1 compared to 17 spinners. 

Australia’s Shane Watson is the highest-rated T20I All-rounder in history 

Allrounder ratings are derived from both the bowling and the batting ratings of the cricketers. Players who appear higher on both the batting and bowling rankings tend to be higher in the overall allrounder rankings. Australia’s Andrew Symonds is the first player to be ranked No.1 T20I allrounder, which he held for a record consecutive 940 days. He also holds the record for the total number of days as the world’s No.1 allrounder with 1447 days. 

Only 9 players have achieved the No.1 ranking among allrounders since the inception of T201s. Afghanistan’s Mohammed Nabi and Bangladesh’s Shakib-al-Hasan rank next among the players with the highest number of total days as the No.1 allrounder. 

In terms of rating, the highest rating for an allrounder was achieved by Australia’s Shane Watson with 557 points. There is no Indian player who was ranked No.1 in the allrounder rankings. The highest ranking achieved was by Yuvraj Singh at No.3. 

Factly’s videos on the T20I World Cup can be viewed here, here and here

Featured Image: ICC T20I rankings


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