Doing away with the toss?

I have enjoyed the analysis by Cricbuzz and I hope they will be able to do something similar for the upcoming international series as well. One of my favourite stories was of how Simon Doull plucked the coin out of the air because the captain tossed the coin before he could introduce the dignitaries present at the coin toss. There are various other interesting stories that surround the toss. I love the pageantry of it, especially in test cricket. The two captains wearing their blazers and caps. The pitch report and toss are two things I always look forward to. Watching the Indian Premier League has made me question the role of the toss. The whole point of the toss is the mystery that you do not know what the captains would do. In the Indian Premier League, you generally knew what the team would do even before the game started. In such a scenario the Toss is rather pointless. To this effect, it is timely that a discussion on the relevance of the toss has been started by the ICC. The stats show that the number of games going into the fourth day of the game is on the rise compared to previous years. This is a good sign.

I am a firm believer that the home country should tailor pitches that most suits their strengths. This does not mean that we see pitches start to erode from day two or those where batting is as easy on day five is so easy that the tail can dispatch the ball to the boundary with ease. Ideally day one the pace bowlers should have the upper hand. The spinners come into play later on in the game when the pitch naturally starts to crack. I believe that pitch curators around the world have pride in their craft to create a good pitch. I also believe that people like Pandurang Salgaoncar are more an exception than the norm. I believe the demerit system set up by the ICC for poor pitches is good. Groundsmen should be encouraged to prepare good wickets that provide the home side with a little bit of an edge otherwise there really is no point in having playing home and away.

I believe that we can have the best of both worlds. Allow countries to prepare pitches that will suit their team better but make them really good so that they will last at least for four days. A fifth-day thriller is good but I would rather have a good win in four days than a boring draw in five. Once the pitch is prepared to give the home side a bit of an advantage then allow the visiting team to choose whether they want to bat or bowl. In English conditions and having bowlers like James Anderson and Stuart Broad you know that in all probability they will want to bowl first. Another reason they would want to do this is to protect their vulnerable top order. Let the groundsman go all out and prepare a green top pitch. A team like Pakistan would love to have bowlers like Amir and Abbas bowl on a green top but their spinners may be negated if they bowl first. If there is sufficient grass then there should still be something in when England comes into bowl later unless it would be one of those weird days when the sun shines brightly and it is hotter than most countries in the Mediterranean conditions. When you come to England you really want to see the beauty of seam bowling. When you go to India you would like to see some mesmerising spin bowling. The best way to see this would be to have both sides play on the same surface for as long as possible rather than leaving it to a random call. Winning and losing the test should solely be determined by the twenty-two cricketers involved in the game. It should not be determined by an event albeit an important one that happens before play starts. We still can have the pageantry. Have a ritual where the Captains come out in their blazers and caps offering the visiting captain the choice of a toss or whether they want to bat or bowl. The game of cricket is becoming less gentlemanly by the day. Surely offering the visiting captain a choice between a toss, batting or bowling will bring that spirit back into the game.

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