T20 aces happy with new ranking system
Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Some of the best cricketers in the world have thrown their weight behind the Reliance International Cricket Council’s T20I team and player rankings which were officially launched on Monday.
Reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion England was unveiled as the number-one ranked side while Eoin Morgan of England, Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis and Australia’s Shane Watson were announced the top-ranked batsman, bowler and all-rounder, respectively.
Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, whose side can top the rankings if India beat England and Sri Lanka defeat Pakistan in the forthcoming T20Is, said: “It’s great news that there are now rankings for Twenty20 cricket and it is very pleasing Sri Lanka is near the top.
“To be Number 1 or Number 2 in the rankings, whatever the format, is always a sign you have been playing well and we have done that in Twenty20 cricket. We have always sought to play positive cricket and over the last couple of ICC Twenty20s we have had a good mix in our team with youngsters and the experience of Sanga' and Mahela. That has served us well.
“Having these rankings launched now is exciting because it reminds everyone that there is an ICC World Twenty20 coming up in Sri Lanka and we are really looking forward to that.”
West Indies captain Darren Sammy, who is also his side’s highest-ranked bowler in eighth position, said: “We already have the Test rankings and the ODI rankings so it’s quite logical and practical to have T20I rankings as well,” Sammy said.
“T20Is have a huge fan base and have caught on quite well with the crowds. Now with rankings the spectators are sure to have ‘a lot more to shout about’.
It is important to have rankings in all formats of the game so that teams and players have incentives and goalposts to drive them. Representing our region and our people is a huge motivating factor – the number-one motivating factor – and with the rankings being introduced, that adds a bit more ‘edge’.
Sammy added: “As we have stated before, our aim as a team is to be inside the top five in all formats of the game by 2015. We are looking to build a core of players and build a team which can achieve this goal.”
South Africa captain AB de Villiers, whose side is currently in fourth position while he himself sits in 20th position in the batting table, said: “Introducing the T20I team and player rankings is a great incentive for teams and players to work towards.
“T20 cricket has grown tremendously over the past few years and the ranking system will definitely give more meaning to one-off matches in a series between countries.
“We only have six more matches until the ICC World Twenty20 2012 in Sri Lanka next year and each of those matches will be useful preparation for the squad. In saying that, we would also like to improve our current team and player rankings in the build-up to the tournament.”
Australia’s T20I captain Cameron White was equally excited when he said: “The release of team rankings provide us with a good picture of where our game sits at the moment and how we need to continue improving prior to the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later next year.
“With so few games being played internationally, ensuring the team is well prepared and able to play consistently are key elements of a quick rise up the rankings table. A few wins over the summer will see us climb this table quickly and become a force to be reckoned with during the World T20.”
For more information go to www.relianceiccrankings.com.
Schedule of T20Is in the lead up to the ICC World Twenty20 2012 (as on 24 October 2011 and subject to changes. T20Is will also be played in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2012 from 13-24 March not included):
October 29 – India v England, Kolkata
November 11 – Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Dubai
February 1 – Australia v India, Sydney
February 3 – Australia v India, Melbourne
February 11 – New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Auckland
February 14 – New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Hamilton
February 17 – New Zealand v South Africa, Wellington
February 19 – New Zealand v South Africa, Hamilton
February 22 – New Zealand v South Africa, Auckland
February 23 – Pakistan v England, Dubai
February 25 – Pakistan v England, Dubai
February 27 – Pakistan v England, Abu Dhabi
June 24 – England v West Indies, Nottingham
September 8 – England v South Africa, Chester-le-Street
September 10 – England v South Africa, Manchester
September 12 – England v South Africa, Birmingham