England have been given a welcome boost during their torrid tour of India after being named top of the inaugural international Twenty20 rankings.
Reigning world Twenty20 champions England are currently in the middle of a one-day international series on the subcontinent and are 4-0 down with one match to play but their pre-eminence in the shortest form of the game has been recognised with a rating of 127 points -one point ahead of second placed Sri Lanka.
England are already world number one in Tests, while Australia top the one-day rankings.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) general manager cricket David Richardson said a true context will be provided to the new and popular brand of the game through the rankings.
“The launch of T20 rankings will generate even more interest in the shortest format and will help to give more context to bilateral T20 matches,” Richardson, a former South African wicket-keeeper, said at the launch ceremony.
Only six ranking points separate the next four sides with New Zealand on second with 117 followed by South Africa (113) and 2007 World T20 winners India fifth with 112.
Australia are placed at sixth with 111, Pakistan are seventh (97) and West Indies next on 89.
Afghanistan, who played the third edition of World Twenty20, are ninth with 75 and Zimbabwe are tenth (54).
Bangladesh, Ireland and Scotland have not played the required number of matches since the August 2009 (period from which the rankings have been drawn) and so were not placed in the rankings.
Richardson said it was important to recognise all formats of the game.
“We have rankings for Tests and one-day already in place since 2001, so the T20 rankings is a new addition and will help us draw the seedings for the next World Twenty20 Cup to be held in Sri Lanka next year,” said Richardson.
England’s Eoin Morgan tops the Twenty20 players rankings in the batting department, while Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka is the top bowler and Australia’s Shane Watson is the world’s best Twenty20 allrounder.
New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum is second in the batsmen’s rankings while England’s Kevin Pietersen is third and Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene is fourth.
Jayawardene welcomed the Twenty20 rankings and said it will add to the competition.
“I think rankings are important and will add to the competition,” Jayawardene said at the launch. “Twenty20 cricket is a positive influence on the other formats of the game,” he added.
England’s T20 captain Stuart Broad showed delight over his team’s top position.
“The England team is delighted to be the number one ranked T20 team at this time but we are certainly under no illusion that we must continue to work hard and improve if we are to stay on top of the tree,” Broad was quoted in ICC release.
England coach Andy Flower was equally happy.
“The competitivenes of Twenty20 internationals is quite clearly matched by the closeness of the team’s rankings and the table will chart every team’s progress as they build for the World Twenty20 next year,” said Flower, who led England to the top Test spot earlier this year.