ICC Rankings January 15, 2009

ICC forced to backtrack on all-time player rankings

Cricinfo staff

The ICC has been forced to issue a hasty media release after criticism of its rankings following Wednesday's announcement that Matthew Hayden was rated as the 10th-best Test batsmen of all time. One newspaper said that it had been forced into a "damage-limitation exercise" after the top 10 did not feature Sachin Tendulkar, ranked at No. 26.

"This does not necessarily mean he is the 10th-best Test batsman or 18th-best ODI batsman in the history of the game," an ICC spokesman said. "The rankings give an indication of how players peaked during their careers but do not give a full picture of those players' level of consistency or longevity in the game.

"The rankings are a great way to compare the performances of players but the all-time list of highest-rated players does not by itself rank those players in terms of true greatness. For that reason some players, who are considered by most observers of the game to be truly great, such as Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Wally Hammond, Greg Chappell and others, do not feature in the top 20 in the all-time high ratings."

But many remained far from convinced. "I am appalled at the ICC's methods of devising the best batsman and the best bowler," fumed Kapil Dev. "It is all the more disappointing when I see that the names of Gavaskar and Tendulkar do not figure on the top."

India's former left-arm spinner Maninder Singh labelled the rankings a "joke" and said "sadistic" ICC officials should stop coming out with such lists. Even former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah was moved to describe the rankings system as laughable.

"I don't know if anyone takes this ranking system seriously, it has no bearing on anybody," Shah told the Sydney Morning Herald. "There are so many other companies in India doing these sorts of rankings and the ICC just wants to get some publicity for their own system."