To be the best, you not only have to win but do so on a consistent basis. A barometer of just how good a side is can be seen from their ability to consistently string together wins and beat every team across all kinds of surfaces.
Is Viv Richards the greatest ODI batsman that the game has ever seen or does Sachin Tendulkar's book of records seal the deal in his favor? Is Sir Don Bradman the greatest batsman of all-time or is there anyone who can compete with the Don? Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan or one of the West Indian fast bowling quartet, who is the greatest bowler of all-time?
All of those are mere questions but they can be answered by taking a look at the ICC cricket ranking. As far as the five-time World Cup-winning Australia team is concerned of the dominant West Indies side of the 70s and 80s, the ICC team rankings give a better picture of just how good they were.
A measure of that is the ICC ranking, which helps to gauge just how good a certain player or team have been as it takes into account a variety of factors. Rankings in cricket is nothing new but the ICC cricket ranking does a great job of highlight just how good a player or team is and can also be used to find out how good a certain player or team is as it goes back to the beginning to rank all performances across all formats.
Currently, the cricket ranking is basically is split into ICC team rankings and ICC player ranking across all three formats. The women's cricket rankings includes ODIs and T20Is.
As far as the ICC player ranking goes, the highest rating point ever achieved by a batsman in Tests belongs to Sir Don Bradman. His tally of 961 achieved following the Test against India in 1948 remains the all-time best by a batsman in the longest format of the game and he is also the only one to breach the 950 mark. In the ICC Bowler Rankings, the all-time best rating is held by England's Syd Barnes, whose tally of 932 after a Test against South Africa in 1914 remains unbroken a century later.
Although ODIs came much later than Tests and the first World Cup was not until 1975, the format has seen plenty of records being broken in the last 15 years. However, one record that has stood the test of time has been the highest rating point by a batsman in the ICC player ranking for ODIs. West Indies' Viv Richards amassed 935 points in December 1985 and in the three decades since, no one has even managed to come close.
In the same year that Viv Richards set the ICC ranking milestone that hasn't been broken yet, his teammate Joel Garner recorded the all-time best rating in the ICC Bowler Rankings in ODIs. Garner had a rating point of 940 and a mark of just how incredible his feat can be ascertained from the fact that only five bowlers have ever managed to cross the 900 mark.
Current ICC Ranking
India are top of the latest ICC rankings in ODIs and Tests while Pakistan lead the way in T20Is, albeit via decimal points over Australia, who also have 126 rating points. Here is the current ICC ranking for players across Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
In the ICC bowler rankings for Tests, the number one ranked bowler is Kagiso Rabada. Steve Smith is the number one ranked batsman while the ICC all-rounder ranking is led by Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan.
In the ICC player ranking for ODIs, India dominate the batsmen and bowlers charts. Virat Kohli sits pretty at the top of the batting charts while Jasprit Bumrah leads the ICC bowler rankings for ODIs. Shakib Al Hasan is top of the ICC all-rounder ranking in ODIs as well.
In the T20 international rankings, Pakistan's Babar Azam and Afghanistan's Rashid Khan lead the ICC player rankings for batsmen and bowlers respectively, while Australia's Glenn Maxwell is the number one ranked all-round player in the ICC rankings.