What good are Test rankings?
as wet as West Indies and India ultimately became.
The pivotal moments of these few weeks came at The Oval, when Pakistan, their glorious fervour calmly channelled by the ageless Misbah-ul-Haq, somehow raised themselves up once more and defeated England.
Suddenly all of these random, unconnected, bilaterally contracted events had an overarching narrative that could knit them together, and that narrative was the Test match rankings.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about “box-set cricket”, the way that tournaments like the IPL, the Big Bash and the CPL fit with modern life, fulfilling the urge to binge on one thing for a brief period.
Their self-containment seemed like an intrinsic and obvious part of their appeal, as did their comparative rarity — they may appear ubiquitous but each happens only once a year.
They contrasted with the sprawling, soap-opera narrative of Test cricket, which didn’t have any obvious entry point or definitive conclusion.
That’s not necessarily a negative. As the great Gideon Haigh puts it in the documentary Death of a Gentleman,
Zimbabwe plays against New Zealand during the August Test match series in Bulawayo