The official ODI rating system provides an objective, fair and fact-based analysis of the performances of all teams, the International Cricket Council said today
ICC Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed, emphasised that the official ratings assessed a team's performance over a period of two years and success in a single tournament would not wipe out poor performances outside that event.
"The ICC ODI ratings assess the performances of a team over two years, not over two months," he said.
"For example, India's unchanged rating reflects the fact that while it enjoyed some success in key tournaments, it has also performed quite poorly at other times against teams that were ranked below it in the table.
"The updated ratings table published last week indicates that there is little to separate the middle-ranking teams in world cricket.
"On the field, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies are evenly matched and with only three points separating these teams, the table reflects just how close these sides are to each other."
The support for the official ODI ratings system came after several commentators seemed unable to reconcile the inability of India to improve its ODI rating when the table was recently updated, particularly as the team reached the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 in South Africa.
The ICC said that the ratings highlight that while India enjoyed high profile success in the ICC Cricket World Cup, its performances in other matches had been indifferent.
In particular, the team's multiple losses against sides that were at the time ranked below it, including series losses to West Indies and New Zealand, damaged the rating of the Indian side.
The developer of the official ratings system, David Kendix, also highlighted this point.
"India's success at the ICC Cricket World Cup does not alter history," said Mr Kendix.
"Given its inconsistent performances against teams that were rated below it in the table, it should be of no surprise that India has been unable to improve its rating.
"Equally, a number of other teams have recently produced improved performances against stronger sides and so seen their ratings improve.
"For example, in the past 12 months, as well as New Zealand and West Indies both achieving series successes over India, England has beaten South Africa three times, West Indies has beaten Australia three times, while Sri Lanka has beaten South Africa three times and Australia twice.
"With results more than two years old no longer used to assess current form, some teams have seen impressive recent form replacing poor old form and, as you would expect, this has resulted in an improved rating for these sides.
"Unfortunately for India, since its recent results are broadly similar to its older results, its rating has not improved and so it has been narrowly overtaken in the overall standings."
Mr Kendix also highlighted that while overall winning percentages (wins as a proportion of matches played) was an easy statistic to quote, it was a crude way to assess a team's performance.
"Some people have tried to use winning percentages to justify alternatives to the official rankings. Such an approach can be very misleading and fails to reflect fully teams' relative performances.
"It assumes that all teams are of equal standard and that a win over a team such as Bangladesh is worth the same as a win over Australia. The reality is that, in assessing a team's performance, it is critical to consider the strength of the opposition it has faced.
"The ICC system is sensitive enough to recognise that a win against Australia is harder to achieve than a win against one of the lower rated teams and so rewards teams more for wins against stronger sides.
"In looking at the schedule over the past two years, we can see that the average strength of India's opponents has been significantly lower than the average strength of the opposition faced by any of the other top eight teams."
India's schedule has pitted it against teams with an average rating of just 94 points while England (107) and New Zealand (105) have been consistently playing against more highly rated teams.
The weighted average rating of the opposition faced by the top eight countries over the past two years is:
Team Average weighting
New Zealand 105
South Africa 103
Sri Lanka 104
West Indies 103
"Given that India has been playing consistently against `weaker' opposition, it should be of no surprise that it needs to win more often against these types of teams in order to improve its rating.
"If, like Sri Lanka, you typically play opponents rated 104 and then win 50% of your matches, your own rating will be 104. But to achieve the same 104 rating while typically playing opponents rated 94, you would need to win 60% of the time.
"The above table helps show why India has not been able to improve its rating. Its win percentage has not exceeded that of other teams by the amount needed to offset the lower quality of its opposition."
While India's past performances have seen its rating remain static it will soon have the opportunity to make its move up the table.
India is playing against both New Zealand and Australia in October and November and success against these two higher rated teams, particularly Australia, would deliver a boost to India's rating that would see it rapidly climb the ratings.
In fact all the teams in the middle bracket have crucial series coming up and their performances in these matches will be critical in determining positions on the official ODI table.
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