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To try to answer this question, we will use the statistics provided by the ICC Player Rankings, which the world’s governing body will now explain for us:
The Reliance ICC Player Rankings are a sophisticated moving average. Players are rated on a scale of 0 to 1000 points. If a player’s performance is improving on his past record, his points increase; if his performance is declining his points will go down.
The value of each player’s performance within a match is calculated using an algorithm, a series of calculations (all pre-programmed) based on various circumstances in the match.
All of the calculations are carried out using pre-programmed formulae, using the information published in a Test match scorecard. There is no human intervention in this calculation process, and no subjective assessment is made.
For bowlers, the rankings take into account how many wickets they take and how many runs they concede, but also the ratings of the batsmen they dismiss.
Therefore, if a bowler removes more top-order batsmen they will have more rating points, as opposed to one who comes on and mops up the tailenders.
For the purposes of this exercise, the ratings will be manipulated slightly to reflect the widely held belief that Test cricket is harder than One Day and Twenty20 Internationals.
The rating a bowler has in Test matches will be doubled to reflect this higher standard, while their rating for ODIs will be multiplied by 1.5.
With their Twenty20 rating left the same, it is a reflection of the difficult nature of Test cricket and rewards bowlers who are consistent in the toughest arena of the game.