Bangladesh still 7th, not 5th
The good news that Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan Papon provided in the afternoon yesterday, regarding the Tigers having aced a landmark by climbing to fifth spot in the ICC ODI rankings, could not last the day as further research revealed a different and rather deflating outcome.
As things currently stand, the annual update of the ICC rankings, which will be released on May 2, 2016, will still see Bangladesh ranked seventh.
The ODI rankings are calculated on a three-year cycle. When the annual update will be carried out on May 1, 2016, series results from the seasons of 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 will be used for calculation purposes.
As per the rules, the results of 2013-14 and 2014-15 will be weighted at 50 percent while the results of the 2015-2016 will be weighted at 100 per cent. Going by those calculations, Bangladesh's ranking as far as May 2, 2016 is concerned, will remain seven.
Under the same three-year calculation policy, the direct qualification system for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be decided and England, along with the seven next highest-ranked side will progress.
The series which will be used for calculation are 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, with results of 2014-15 and 2015-16 to be weighted at 50 per cent and the results of 2016-17 to be weighted at 100 per cent.
So what was all the confusion about? The briefing that Papon provided to the reporters at his Beximco office seemed to be based on a hypothetical projection that covered results from just the 2014-15 and 2015-16 series.
According to sources from the ICC, if one only considers the results from 2014-15 and 2015-16, as no matches in the 2016-17 season have been played as yet, then Bangladesh will be ranked fifth. That is of course if the series in 2015-16, when Bangladesh beat Pakistan, India and South Africa, is weighted at 100 percent.
So, the results that will be most important in deciding direct qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, considering that the cut-off date for those rankings is September 30, 2017, are those that will take place over the next 17 months. The matches that will take place over the next 17 months will be weighted at 100 percent, while the results from 2014-15 and 2015-16 will reduced to a weighting of 50 percent.
In other words, the substantial rating points that Bangladesh received upon defeating the then higher-ranked teams of Pakistan, India and South Africa will be halved.
In all likelihood, what was displayed during the ICC meeting to Papon and the other board presidents was just a projection of how things stand if the results from the 2016-2017 season are not considered.
However, to state that Bangladesh are now ranked fifth based on the projection would be misleading since there is still an entire season of cricket to be played.
According to Papon, the projections showed that Bangladesh have a rating of 101 points, which was more than that of England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies.
However, going by these figures would be misleading since this scenario does not include the results from the 2016-2017 season.
This does not mean, however, that Bangladesh will not be able to break into the top five in the near future. The two-season projection only goes on to show how well the Tigers have progressed over the last two years and if they can continue the good run for one more season, they can be in a good position before September 30, 2017. It is a deadline before which they will have to be ranked within the top eight, as England -- currently ranked sixth -- will qualify automatically, in order to qualify directly for the ICC World Cup in 2019.