Season Review 2004-05 and 2005
No tests this month, so a summary of the last year instead.
England 2nd 1252.93 +75.5
England began the year as a solid team looking to assert themeselves as the second-best team in cricket. They ended it as likely challengers for the top spot, having won the Ashes for the first time in 16 years. Their record isn't that sparkling (12 tests, 6 won, 2 lost) but unlike everyone else they (mostly) played good teams in proper 5-test series, and they won. The best English ranking since 1979.
New Zealand 7th 1034.08 +11.33
Can New Zealand really be the next biggest improvers? Having been thrashed twice by Australia, and doling out the same to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, their only two competitive games were against Sri Lanka. 1 win, 1 loss.
Pakistan 6th 1046.49 +1.69
Pakistan were also thrashed by Australia, but managed to draw three series, against India away, Sri Lanka at home and the West Indies away. Rebuilding, but not going backwards.
Australia 1st 1342.10 -3.47
For ten months this year was all Australia's. Victory over India on the sub-continent, dominant wins over New Zealand and Pakistan at home, and the Kiwis away. An easy victory in the first Ashes test pushed their rating up to 1426 -- Australia's best since 1950. Four tests later and the team is in crisis and terminal decline.
Bangladesh 10th 614.29 -7.56
Lest anyone question Bangladesh's devotion to losing, behold! It takes real talent to actually force your rating down when even a draw gets a big bonus. To manage it despite recording a win against Zimbabwe shows just how far behind Bangladesh really are.
Sri Lanka 5th 1086.46 -9.02
The masters of the two-test series only played 6 tests in the past year. They beat the West Indies at home, but are developing an away record to rival India's with losses to New Zealand and Pakistan.
South Africa 4th 1127.19 -19.09
Declining? Or just stagnating? Competitive losses to India away and England at home were the downside; victories over the West Indies and Zimbabwe the up. South Africa will be an average team without some better bowlers.
West Indies 8th 816.39 -27.1
How low can the West Indies go. Every corner turned seems to herald another crisis and another loss. Now the worst side in the glorious history of West Indian cricket; they played eight games against competitive middle sides (South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) for one win and five losses. I'd say the only way is up, but then I would have said that last year.
Zimbabwe 9th 707.44 -29.52
Zimbabwe's race to the bottom continues. When your best result is a draw against Bangladesh it is probably a small mercy that they only played four tests.
India 3rd 1142.64 -45.13
Who'd be an Indian fan? A home loss to Australia was followed by wins over South Africa and Bangladesh, but a drawn series at home to Pakistan. What it amounted to was a side whose performances should have been better, but who still lack the winning mentality. Given the age of their middle order India are as likely to go down as up.
27th September, 2005 18:44:27