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Thread: how do we know which is the best team?

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    how do we know which is the best team?

    i was just thinking, Home advantage is a huge factor in determining a team's victory in tests. For example currently India has the home advantage against Australia and thats why their doing better, if India were in Australia right now I am sure Australia would be winning the series. We all know both India and Australia are really good test teams, but how do we exactly know who is the better team if we dont include home advantage??

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    By playing on neutral venues. Repeatedly. Even then this is far from scientific, as conditions can favour a certain team without being home conditions. Not only this, but sometimes home teams (either idiotically or thanks to factors out of their control) prepare pitches that favour their tourists. A few of the worst cases of this which come immediately to mind: India vs England at Mumbai in 1981/82; England vs Australia for much of the 1993 Ashes series; India vs Australia at Nagpur in 2004/05; England vs Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge in 2006.

    And given playing neutral Test series' doesn't happen in cricket, then you have to settle sometimes for the fact that home and away are two different kettles of fish. India and Sri Lanka at home, for instance, have always been two of the toughest series' in cricket. India and Sri Lanka away, on the other hand, have generally been two of the easiest and those you're most expected to win. It's all part of the game.
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    State Captain krkode's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think you ultimately have to take such things in stride and realize that most often there won't be a clear-cut best team.

    There will always be more of a rock paper scissors relationship in cricket. For example, Sri Lanka will beat India, India will beat Australia and then Sri Lanka will lose to Australia - who's the best team out of that scenario? Hard to say, and probably not worth arguing over.

    Unless, of course, there are some teams that truly just rise above the rest for an elongated period of time, like Australia has in the last decade. In spite of the occasional lost series, they've quite clearly been above the rest (2-1 Ashes lost replied to with a 5-0 victory next time). Figuring out that Australia has been the best team of the past decade and then some is pretty easy, but once the dust settles and lets say Australia leave this golden era at some point, I think cricket ultimately is one of those games that may not have a clear-cut "best team" - especially due to home and way conditions factoring in - and that's part of what makes it fun.

    I think that's partly the reason ODIs and 20-20s are so popular (besides being short, of course). It's because a lot of the time it's not easy to pin-point the better team, and the theoretical best team isn't the one that always wins. There's the higher possibility of an upset, and the shorter the period of time where players have to be at their best, the more likely you are to witness an exciting upset (i.e. you only have to be at your best for 20 overs in 20-20, whereas in a test you have to keep it up for 5 days).

    As an interesting side note - is there any other sport where home/away conditions makes as big of an impact in the result? I'm not talking about crowd support and feeling comfortable, although that is undoubtedly a big deal but more of pitch/field conditions in the way that playing cricket in SA is vastly different from playing it in India? Is playing a football/soccer game in England, say, much different than playing it in Brazil? Besides the obvious temperature difference, of course.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krkode View Post
    Yeah, I think you ultimately have to take such things in stride and realize that most often there won't be a clear-cut best team.

    There will always be more of a rock paper scissors relationship in cricket. For example, Sri Lanka will beat India, India will beat Australia and then Sri Lanka will lose to Australia - who's the best team out of that scenario? Hard to say, and probably not worth arguing over.

    Unless, of course, there are some teams that truly just rise above the rest for an elongated period of time, like Australia has in the last decade. In spite of the occasional lost series, they've quite clearly been above the rest (2-1 Ashes lost replied to with a 5-0 victory next time). Figuring out that Australia has been the best team of the past decade and then some is pretty easy, but once the dust settles and lets say Australia leave this golden era at some point, I think cricket ultimately is one of those games that may not have a clear-cut "best team" - especially due to home and way conditions factoring in - and that's part of what makes it fun.
    Ind33d. There've been many occasions in cricket's history where there's been no real clear-cut best team. I'd say the we're probably going to have arrived at that situation in 2007/08 TBH, but it's not really possible to say so yet.

    However, it is possible to say that between 1989 and 2006/07, Australia were genuinely outplayed and defeated clear-cut just 4 times - West Indies in 1991, India in 1997/98, Sri Lanka 1999/2000 and England in 2005.


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    State Captain krkode's Avatar
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    I'm quite looking forward to the 2011 World Cup, as I think it may be the first World Cup in a while where one team doesn't roll over all the rest. Australia will probably still be strong enough to be a frontline contender but I don't think they're going to go completely undefeated like in 2003 and 2007 nor will any other team. It'll probably be a good ol' down-and-dirty hard-fought competition like the old days rather than "who is Australia going to thump in the finals this time?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    We have a pretty good ranking system on CW.

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    International Captain weldone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krkode View Post
    I'm quite looking forward to the 2011 World Cup, as I think it may be the first World Cup in a while where one team doesn't roll over all the rest. Australia will probably still be strong enough to be a frontline contender but I don't think they're going to go completely undefeated like in 2003 and 2007 nor will any other team. It'll probably be a good ol' down-and-dirty hard-fought competition like the old days rather than "who is Australia going to thump in the finals this time?"
    Yup, I'm looking forward to it...

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I've given-up on getting excited over World Cups. First one I watched (first I knew of it was that it was on - I was too young to be realising there was any build-up) was the best of them all; second one I watched (whose build-up I was involved in to not that great an extent) was the second-best. The next one was the worst one yet and the one after too the worst one yet to new lows.

    (Those are 1991/92, 1999, 2002/03 and 2007 BTW, just in case anyone's unclear.)

    You'd think surely the 2010/11 event would be better than either 2002/03 or 2007, but well... as I say, seems a dangerous prediction.

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    If we could have a reliable and objective way of measuring things like this then following cricket would be much less interesting than it is. Sadly in recent years Australia have made this kind of debate pretty easy to resolve. I'm delighted that things are no longer anything like so clear-cut as they were a year or two ago.

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    International Coach G.I.Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I've given-up on getting excited over World Cups. First one I watched (first I knew of it was that it was on - I was too young to be realising there was any build-up) was the best of them all; second one I watched (whose build-up I was involved in to not that great an extent) was the second-best. The next one was the worst one yet and the one after too the worst one yet to new lows.

    (Those are 1991/92, 1999, 2002/03 and 2007 BTW, just in case anyone's unclear.)

    You'd think surely the 2010/11 event would be better than either 2002/03 or 2007, but well... as I say, seems a dangerous prediction.
    You know, it might help if you switched allegiances from England

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    Quote Originally Posted by krkode View Post
    I'm quite looking forward to the 2011 World Cup, as I think it may be the first World Cup in a while where one team doesn't roll over all the rest. Australia will probably still be strong enough to be a frontline contender but I don't think they're going to go completely undefeated like in 2003 and 2007 nor will any other team. It'll probably be a good ol' down-and-dirty hard-fought competition like the old days rather than "who is Australia going to thump in the finals this time?"
    Tbf, the format is such rot that West Indies or England have a fair decent chance of fluking a win anyway.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.I.Joe View Post
    You know, it might help if you switched allegiances from England
    I probably want South Africa to win World Cups more than I do England... though how good that is for one's sanity is questionable as well... but nah, I enjoy a good Cup regardless of how the team I'd like to win fares, it's all about how interesting the matches are and how high the calibre of player is.

    In both of the last two Cups, the two above has been pitiful, more so in 2007 than in 2002/03. So both Cups were woeful.

    I enjoyed the 1999 Cup greatly, even though England were knocked-out in the first round and SA were eliminated under farcial circumstances.

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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I probably want South Africa to win World Cups more than I do England... though how good that is for one's sanity is questionable as well... but nah, I enjoy a good Cup regardless of how the team I'd like to win fares, it's all about how interesting the matches are and how high the calibre of player is.

    In both of the last two Cups, the two above has been pitiful, more so in 2007 than in 2002/03. So both Cups were woeful.

    I enjoyed the 1999 Cup greatly, even though England were knocked-out in the first round and SA were eliminated under farcial circumstances.
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