What good are Test rank­ings?

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

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

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