The ICC Test Rankings, also known as the ICC Test Championship, ranks the 12 Test playing nations by giving them a rating, which is based on a mathematical formula. Each team's points total from matches over the last 3−4 years is divided by a figure based on their total number of matches and series played.
The ICC awards the Test Championship Mace to the no. 1 Test team, which is the team which achieves the highest rating. The Indian cricket team, led by Virat Kohli, currently holds the mace, after finishing the year as the world no. 1 side, following their win against South Africa in the third and final Test of the three-match Test series held in South Africa. They went on to lose the series 2-1, but ensured that they stayed on top of the rankings.
Virat Kohli's men had a phenomenal home season in 2016-17, where they defeated England, New Zealand, Bangaldesh, and Australia, at home. Australia were the only team which managed to get a Test win under their belt, however, they went on to lose the series 2-1.
South Africa, on the other hand, has performed exceptionally well, having recently defeated India. Australia, who have spent most time at top of the rankings since the 2000s, find themselves in the third position.
The ICC decided to award Afghanistan and Ireland the status of Test playing nations after all the success they achieved over the past couple of years.
When it comes to the women's team rankings, the Australian cricket team lead the chart, with 130 rating points. However, England is not too far behind, just one rating point behind them, at 129. India, who have turned over a new leaf over the past few years, find themselves at the fourth position, with 114 rating points.