DAVID Furlonge, coach of the TT Red Force, says the West Indies’ T20 focus should be on the defence of their World Cup crown, not on the current International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 rankings.
West Indies have slumped to the tenth spot in the latest rankings, just six months before they defend their title at the T20 World Cup in India.
Following the annual update Monday which saw results from 2017-18 eliminated, West Indies found themselves on 222 ratings points but still within striking distance of the three teams immediately ahead of them.
Bangladesh are ninth on 225 points, Sri Lanka lie eighth on 227 points while Afghanistan are seventh on 236 points.
England, meanwhile, remain the top side in the rankings with 277 and have extended their lead over second-placed India to five points.
Furlonge said on Monday evening, “The ranking is really points, not how you’re playing at the moment. We lost the T20 series in New Zealand (in December 2020), and then we came against Sri Lanka down here (in March) and won the series 2-1.
“We’re improving and we’re preparing for the World Cup,” he added. “We’re preparing to peak at the World Cup.”
Furlonge does not think the West Indies’ current position on the rankings is a cause of concern.
He said, “I don’t think it shows any importance as to how we’ll perform in the World Cup. We’re looking to put together a side for the World Cup.
“We have five games coming up against South Africa, which I’m sure they would select about 14-15 players. We’re looking to put together a winning team for the World Cup.”
New Zealand also gained in the rankings, leaping two places to third on 263 points with Pakistan two points back in fourth and Australia fifth on 258.
South Africa are in sixth, ten points back.
West Indies have experienced a topsy-turvy run of form in the shortest format in recent years, with only four series wins in the last 12 while losing 14 of their last 23 games inside the last two-and-a-half years.
West Indies won the last T20 World Cup staged in India five years ago and are currently gearing up for their title defence under white-ball skipper Kieron Pollard, recently named Wisden’s Leading T20 Cricketer in the World.
In the One-Day International format, West Indies climbed one place to eighth, overtaking Sri Lanka to be on 82 ratings points.
They swept Sri Lanka 3-0 last March in the Caribbean but that was on the back of successive whitewashes at the hands of Bangladesh earlier this year and Sri Lanka back in 2020.
New Zealand have meanwhile replaced reigning world champions, England, as the top-ranked side in ODIs with 121 ratings points, with Australia second on 118 points after jumping two places and India slipping one place to third on 115 points.
England now lie a decimal point behind in fourth with South Africa fifth (107), Pakistan (97) sixth and Bangladesh seventh on 90 points.