ICC looking to abolish the practice of coin tosses before ICC Test Championship

The reason for doing away with the toss would be to reduce the advantage of the home team.

The reason for doing away with the toss would be to reduce the advantage of the home team | AFP

Cricket has always evolved with time to remain relevant according to contemporary eras. Some of the new ideas to revamp cricket has been T20 cricket and the introduction of pink ball Day-night Tests.

And now, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be discussing the possibility of removing the important factor of the coin toss from cricket.

ICC wishes to do away with the coin toss before the commencement of the ICC World Test championship, which is set to begin in 2019 with Australia’s Ashes tour to England.

The reason for doing away with the toss would be to reduce the advantage of the home team, with a growing belief among cricket fans and experts that home boards overly manipulate conditions to the point where there is far too much importance placed on the toss.

There is serious concern about the current level of home team interference in Test pitch preparation, and more than one committee member believes that the toss should be automatically awarded to the visiting team in each match, although there are some others on the committee who do not share that view,” read briefing notes circulated ahead of the ICC committee meet in Mumbai later this month, according to an ESPNCricinfo report.

This experiment was first tried out in the 2016 English county championship, where coin toss was made optional. Under the new rules, the visiting captain is given the choice of bowling first. If he accepts, there will be no toss. But if the visiting captain declines the offer, the toss will take place.

According to ESPNCricinfo, the ECB reported that 85% of matches went into a fourth day compared to 74% in 2015 - the highest percentage since 2009. Furthermore, 71of the 142 matches in both divisions were drawn – discounting two abandoned matches – meaning there was a definite result in the other 71 matches. In 2015, there were 93 results and only 51 draws.

My solution to ensure the best possible pitches is, at international level, to do away with the toss, with the visiting side given the option of whether they want to bat or bowl,” former Australian cricket team coach Lehmann said in his 2016 book, ‘Coach’.

That way the result is not decided by the toss of the coin, host boards have a greater incentive to produce decent pitches that are fair to both sides and the chances are that after five days the better side - rather than the one that has called correctly and thus been able to take advantage of favourable conditions - is the one what will come out on top,” he added.


By Jatin Sharma - 17 May, 2018

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