30 Jun Pendulum Cricket Test Match overview:
The recent induction of Afghanistan and Ireland as Test Cricket playing nations are the newest recruits for 17 years, since Bangladesh’s introduction in year 2000.
They now join the other elite 10 Test nations in current ranking order (18 May 2017); India, South Africa, Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Ireland are particularly wanting to stem the tide of losing their key players into the England county system, and thereafter representing the Three Lions. Afghanistan pose a hosting problem similar to that of Pakistan and may too have to make the UAE their “host” nation due to suffering the forgotten war over the past four decades. Unfortunately along with Zimbabwe these three teams will not partake in the upcoming new league structure for Test Cricket.
Pakistan, recent ICC Champions have dropped mercuriously down the rankings to 6th. The men in green held pole position about this time last year. Both Australia and England have declined as well, but at a lesser margin. With series wins against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, the Proteas from South Africa climbed into 2nd place. This after the 2013/14 season results are no longer included and the past season’s results counting double.
Upcoming international tours include England looking forward to playing South Africa on home soil in a 4-Test thriller. KES old boys De Kock and Jennings, former under-19 team mates under former coach Ray Jennings, father of Keaton, will play opposite one another for their first time. Bangladesh will host Australia for 2-Tests, with Australia undergoing a current wage dispute it may be the perfect time to entertain them.
So with the ICC Championship now behind us the mixed bag of T20, ODI and Test Cricket follows. Teams will have to adapt or die as they conjure to decide their best sides for each category. Afghanistan and Ireland are better prepared this time round as Test inductees in having played well in the shorter formats, But the present three bottom teams on the ranking log will tell you, Test cricket is a hard fight with battle lines drawn. It really is war out there!