The toss in test cricket
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Over the last number of years, the International Cricket Council, along with the world cricketing community, have been looking at the situation in Test Cricket, in terms of the gap between the top 5 or 6 teams and those on the lower rungs of the ladder. The concern is that this gap is probably having an adverse effect on interest in the longer version of the game and hence the attendance at those games.
In a sport that prides itself on its 'glorious uncertainties', the result in a match between a top 6 and a bottom team has become quite predictable. A big part of that unwanted predictability is the advantage of the Toss. A top team winning the Toss is almost guaranteed a win, on a pitch that is helpful to either batting first, with turn expected on the 4th and/or 5th day, or to bowling first, on a pitch that is grassy or a first day that is windy, offering plenty of swing.
One suggestion, therefore, is that when a top team is playing a bottom team, the Toss could be left out of the process and the bottom team be given the choice of either batting fist or bowling first, as the conditions dictate. In that way, more balance would be engineered into the match.
A more even contest and, I dare say, a more exciting and enjoyable match would ensue.
Peter E. Powell