The Indian cricket team have slipped to fifth spot in the latest ICC Twenty20 rankings after losing two consecutive series in 2019. (Image credit: Twitter)
India has slipped to the fifth spot in the latest Twenty20 International team rankings released by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The ICC unveiled an expanded T20I team rankings table with 80 teams who will now be able to gauge their progress in a format, recognised by the world body as the vehicle for the growth of the game. Pakistan, ICC T20 World Cup champions in 2009, are now on 286 points while the next four teams are within two points of each other -- South Africa (262), England (261), Australia (261) and India (260). South Africa and India have swapped positions two and five in the expanded table, whose launch coincides with the annual rankings update in which series results from 2015-16 are removed and outcomes from 2016-17 and 2017-18 are weighted at 50 per cent.
From 2016, Pakistan has been the dominant Twenty20 side in the world, winning 11 consecutive bilateral series. They secured five 3-0 whitewashes in three years, including twice against two-time World T20 champions West Indies. They also defeated Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand by the same margin. Their streak came to an end in the series against South Africa when they lost 1-2 in 2019.
South Africa, on the other hand, have won four consecutive bilateral series ever since they lost the series 1-2 to India in 2017. India had won seven consecutive bilateral series from 2017 but in the last three series, they had drawn 1-1 Down Under, lost 1-2 to New Zealand while they lost 0-2 to Australia at home which was their first loss to the Aussies in Twenty20s at home.
Teams like Austria, Botswana, Luxembourg and Mozambique are among the sides figuring in the first men's T20I ranking table that features all members meeting the criteria of having played six matches against other ICC members since May 2016. The move to expand the table follows ICC's decision last year that all men's T20 matches between members from January 1, 2019, will be classified as internationals. As with the ICC Women's T20I team rankings, which were launched in October 2018, teams will need to play six matches against other teams in the previous three to four years to remain in the rankings table.
The qualification process for the ICC men's T20 World Cup, which is underway, includes 58 T20I matches across five regional finals is likely to mean significant movements on the rankings over the coming months. The first final was held in Papua New Guinea last month whilst the Africa final in Uganda (19-24 May), the Europe final in Guernsey (15-19 June), the Asia final in Singapore (22-28 July) and the Americas final in the USA (19-25 August) are still to come. Six of these teams will join hosts UAE, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and Zimbabwe in the global qualifier in what will be another chance to improve their standings on the table as they try to qualify for the ICC men's T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia.