ICC considers scrapping coin toss in Test cricket, to give advantage to visiting team

Since the International Cricket Council (ICC) is making every possible move to revamp and revive Test cricket, which looks on the brink of extinction, one of the many suggestions which has been made by the cricket body is to abandon the coin toss, and give the advantage to the visiting team captain, to decide whether to bat or bowl first, thus stripping the home team’s opportunity to derive any sort of advantage from the pitch.

The coin toss is a crucial part of any and all cricket matches. Every team wishes to win the coin toss in order to be able to exploit their strengths or the opponent’s weakness. Every single Test match that has been played so far, including the first-ever Test between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 1877, has begun with a coin toss. The home captain tosses the coin in the air for the visiting captain to call heads or tails. As much as a necessity, the coin toss has also become a part of the sport as tradition.

Coin toss to be scrapped to give advantage to the visiting team?

The relevance and importance of the coin toss, and the possibilities of scrapping the practice will be discussed during the ICC’s cricket committee meeting which is scheduled for May 28 and 29 in Mumbai. Quoting a letter that was sent to all the panel members of the ICC, ESPNcricinfo reported a statement which read,

“Test cricket’s fundamental starting point may be scrapped, as the ICC’s cricket committee prepares to debate whether or not the coin toss should be removed as a way of reducing home ground advantage in the looming Test Championship.”

“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,” the letter added.

Rahul Dravid, Jayawardene, Anil Kumble: Some of the notables in the ICC Cricket Committee

The ICC Cricket Committee features former India captain and coach Anil Kumble, Andrew Strauss, Mahela Jayawardene, Rahul Dravid, Tim May, New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White, umpire Richard Kettleborough, ICC match referees’ chief Ranjan Madugalle, Shaun Pollock and Clare Connor.

Since 2016, England’s County Championship had given visiting captains the opportunity to decide whether to bat or bowl without a coin toss.

If the rule does change, it would need to come into play before the start of the first-ever World Test Championship, which gets underway next year and runs through until 2021.

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