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Sangakkara flays the ICC rankings

Galle: Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s ranking system as “unfair” even though the island nation was in the sight of becoming the top Test side after they spanked India in the first of the three-Tests, on Thursday.

Sri Lanka defeated India in the first of the three-Test series on Thursday. The visitors were humbled by 10 wickets as Muttiah Muralidharan completed 800 wickets in Tests.

Asked whether the players take seriously a system that has India at No. 1 despite not having won a series in Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka since 1993, Sangakkara said that it was question which should have been put forward to ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat who was in Galle.

“You should have asked that question to Haroon Lorgat who was here,” Sangakkara said.

He also questioned the credibility of the ranking system saying that it was too complicated to comprehend.

“If rankings can’t be understood by the public, the players, or the administrators, what’s the use of having rankings? If you want rankings, they should count towards playing a Test championship,” he said.

Sangakkara said that for the ICC ranking system to be acceptable, the FTP should be “fair” with each side playing each other at least once, home or away.

“Rankings need to be fairly done. A fair FTP is the first step towards having proper rankings. Once every two years, each side should play each other at least once, home or away. That’s how you get a fair deal when it comes to Test cricket,” he said.

Sri Lanka themselves were ranked No. 2 last year without having won a Test in India, Australia and South Africa, a spot they lost after their away loss to India.

About his own side’s dismal record in the three countries ranked higher than them, Sangakkara said that they have not played enough cricket to boost their rankings.

“I don’t think we have played enough Test cricket away. Two Test matches here, two Test matches there… I think that’s not good. We need to play Tests regularly,” he said.

He was also of the opinion that Sri Lanka possessed a balanced attack of pace and spin and they need to play more in South Africa, Australia and India to win Tests there.

“We have a very good, balanced attack of pace and spin. We have done well from 2006 to 2009. We have won in New Zealand, in England and in Pakistan. South Africa, Australia and India are the three places that we need to win. We need to play often in those places,” said the Lankan skipper.

Interestingly, the current Test ranking system does not give extra weightage to victories away from home. The rating points earned or conceded are calculated based on the difference between where the teams stood before the start of the series.

After every Test series, the two teams involved receive points based on a mathematical formula. The total of each team’s points total is divided by the total number of matches to give a ‘rating’, and the Test-playing teams are ranked by the order of the rating.

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