Even though the Trans-Tasman Trophy isn't up for grabs in today's test at Adelaide, there is still something worth fighting for – the position as the world's second worst major test team.
Let's put some numbers to this.
Currently (from ICC Cricket Rankings):
NZ 1967 points/24 matches = 81.96
WI 1791/22 = 81.41
If we lose this test: NZ = 80.85 (falling below the West Indies)
If we draw this test: NZ = 82.7
If we win, heaven forbid: NZ = 86.4
I calculated this by the following relevant formula (which applies if the difference in the rating of competing teams is 40 or more):
Calculate the series results by taking one point for each match or series win and half a point for a draw, then calculate a new points total by summing the product of the series result and 90 points more than our old rating and the product of Australia's series result and 10 points less than our old rating, then find our new rating by taking the ratio of our new points total and the new number of tests and series played in the last three years.
It is, as you can tell, a maddeningly opaque system with far more precision than it needs considering there is no real championship associated with it. It also really bugs me that we have a situation where the Windies could overtake us in this way (due in large part because of the rained-off test in Bangladesh). If they want to be second-worst, they should bloody well come here and take it from us!
(I could now calculate the possible results for the WI tour, but I've had enough of fiddly calculations for the time being. I used to have a spreadsheet that could calculate it. Imagine that! A championship that requires a spreadsheet to work it out!)
One day I'll take a closer look at alternative ranking systems, but I'll put forward one suggested system now: ditch the points, retain the ranking list; if you beat a team higher than you on the list you go up one ranking, otherwise the rankings don't change.