New Delhi:The ICC has become the cricket world's laughing stock after making a ridiculously hilarious defence of its all-time great rankings of cricketers, saying the list did not "rank players in terms of true greatness".
A day after the new chart was released, former Indian cricketers expressed surprise at the composition of the list and said it was "extremely misleading" since many great names like Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara did not figure in the top ten positions.
The ICC, on its part, promptly, came out with a clarification saying the list does not give a full picture of a player's level of consistency or longevity in the game.
"The ICC player rankings are a great way to compare the performances of players but the all-time list of highest rated players does not by itself rank those players in terms of true greatness", the ICC said in a statement.
It said that Matthew Hayden's place higher up the table than Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara in the all-time Test and ODI rankings does not necessarily mean that the just-retired Australian is the 10th-best Test batsman or 18th-best ODI batsman in the history of the game.
"The rankings give an indication of how players peaked during their careers but do not give a full picture of those players' level of consistency or longevity in the game," it said.
India's former left-arm spinner Maninder Singh went to the extent of calling it a "joke" and said "sadistic" ICC officials should stop coming out with such lists.
"The ICC is in the habit of making a joke of themselves, and this list proves that. Now, how can you explain Tendulkar who has scored over 12,000 Test runs not being in that list ? I think these jokers should not be given the pleasure of rating players in this way", Maninder told PTI. Explaining the manner in which the rankings have been decided, the ICC said, "A batsman or a bowler who averages around 700 ratings points for most of his career apart from a purple patch where he shoots up to 900 points before dropping down again may be ranked higher on the all-time ratings.
"But that does not mean he should necessarily be considered to be better than a player who hovered around the 850-point mark for his entire career," it said.
"For that reason some players, who are considered by most observers of the game to be truly great, such as Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Wally Hammond, Greg Chappell and others, do not feature in the top 20 in the all-time high ratings," the statement said.
Tendulkar was ranked 26th in the Test rankings while Lara was listed three rungs above him.
The ICC urged fans to take a closer look at a player's entire career graph to determine his greatness rather than go by the snapshots, which is what the "best-ever ratings" effectively are.
If a player's career is considered as a mountain, then a single peak would hold worth less than a high, long plateau, the ICC said.
"Hence Tendulkar would be deemed greater than most other players despite having a lower peak. One way of assessing a player would be to calculate his "average rating" over his career though of course this could penalise a player whose long career included a slow start," the ICC said.
Maninder said the complex calculations used by the ICC was hard to comprehend since the chart does not reflect the reality. "I don't think players like Tendulkar, Lara, Border or Steve Waugh become smaller just because they don't figure in this list. They have achieved a lot in their careers and cricket fans know their true worth", Maninder said.
Former Indian cricketer and coach Madan Lal was also quite astounded by the composition of the list.
"It shocked me that Tendulkar is not there. He is Test cricket's most prolific run-getter. He has scored heavily in every condition and against all countries. If he is not there who will be there, I don't know. Tendulkar should definitely have been there," he said "I am not bothered whether Matthew Hayden or others like Kumar Sangakkara are there. They are also great players but I am surprised any such ranking does not include a Tendulkar and Brian Lara. I don't know what factors or criteria they used to rank the players."
Former Indian opener Chetan Chauhan said it was quite shocking to see the list without the name of Tendulkar who has been regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world.
"Anybody who has scored over 12,000 runs has to be in the top five at least. Tendulkar is still going strong after 19 years of international cricket, so it is really baffling he is not higher up in the list", Chauhan said.