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Ahead of their meeting in the World Test Championship final next month, India have moved past Australia to No. 1 on the ICC rankings for men's cricket. This shift, even though neither team has played any long-form cricket for two months, is essentially the result of the passage of time and how some series from a while ago have lost a bit of their value.
India's tally went from 119 to 121 and Australia's went from 122 to 116 because this update only takes into consideration teams' performances after May 2020 and weighs series between May 2020 and May 2022 at 50% and the ones in the following one-year period at 100%.
Australia lost points because some of their wins from the previous cycle no longer matter in this one - like the 5-0 scoreline from the 2019-20 home summer, when they whitewashed Pakistan 2-0 and New Zealand 3-0. Also, the weight of their 4-0 Ashes win against England in 2021-22 was halved.
India gained points because their 2-0 defeat on tour in New Zealand in 2020 went clean out of the picture, and their 2-1 away loss to South Africa in 2021-22 now drags them down only half as much as it used to. Since the start of May 2022, India have played seven Tests out of which they have won four, lost two, and drawn one.
England also benefited from the latest rankings update. They remain in third place but their turnaround since Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes took over as coach and captain respectively has seen them win 10 out of their 12 Tests since May 2022, after having won one of their 17 previous Tests between early February 2021 and May 2022. This has closed the gap between second and third from 13 points to two.
The rest of the Test rankings remain unchanged with only two other teams - New Zealand and South Africa at the 100-point mark. The 2021-23 WTC Cycle is now complete with the next one starting after the final.