The main problem in drawing up comprehensive one day international ranking lists for the Associate and Affilaite nations is the very small number of matches that they play against each other. For most countries the only matches they play are in their regional tournaments (typically held every two years) and they rarely, if ever, play against countries in other continents.
Take the example of Norway, for instance. They are the European Division 2 champions, having played five other countries to win that title - but they have never played competitively against a country from outside Europe.
Fortunately this situation is likely to improve somewhat in the coming seasons. The top Associates now have ODI status and will be playing a greater number of matches against each other than in the past. The advent of the World Cricket League will also expose a large number (almost 30) of countries to inter-continental competition.
A number of ranking lists for non-Test countries can be found on various web sites. However, they all struggle to cope effectively with the lack of match results. Fairly arbitrary numbers are devised, such as runs scored and wickets taken in matches, and these are fed into even more arbitrary formulae. Inevitably, the resulting ranking lists are characterised by their glaring anomalies.
Surely, in one day cricket, the only factor that can and should be taken into account is the result itself? Matches are often shortened, interrupted, decided by Duckworth Lewis and this almost always affect the actual scores and margin of victory.
In drawing up our initial ranking lists we have taken a logical two-step approach.
These regional ranking lists are then interleaved to produce the global list. This is where the problems begin. We know how the top teams in each region compare with the top teams in other regions (by their ICC Trophy results, mainly). However, we don't know how, say, Italy compares with Argentina or Afghanistan, who have similar rankings in their regions.
The solution is based on cross-referencing. We know from our results database how Italy performs relative to the top teams in Europe; we know how Argentina, say, performs relative to the top teams in the Americas; and we know how the top European teams perform relative to the top Americas teams. Hence we can attempt to produce relative rankings for Italy and Argentina.
Using our database of all international results for past seasons, we wrote a statistically-based computer program which churned through all these comparisons to produce the interleaved global rankings.
Our initial ranking table is given below. In future we will update it monthly, taking into account the previous month's results. However, now that we have generated an initial set of rankings, we use a very different scheme for updating it. This is based on a suitably-modified version of the ICC's system for producing ODI rankings for the Test nations and we will explain it when we publish the next rankings in December (which will include the Bermuda v Kenya ODI series).
|18||Papua New Guinea||100|
|57||Isle of Man||32|
|61||Turks & Caicos||24|