Toss to continue in Test cricket for now

Recent debates favoured the spin of the coin to remain central to the game, although a handful of former captains and well-known players wanted the toss to be done away with because pitches were tinkered with to favour home teams.

The toss that brings in the element of intrigue at the start of a Test match — with a bit of glamour with the two captains in team blazers and caps — will remain in force. (Representational Image)   -  Getty Images

The toss that brings in the element of intrigue at the start of a Test match — with the two captains in team blazers and caps — will remain in force.

Recent debates favoured the spin of the coin to remain central to the game, although a handful of former captains and well-known players wanted the toss to be done away with because pitches were tinkered with to favour home teams.

Law 13.4 of Laws of Cricket says: “The captains shall toss a coin for the choice of innings on the field of play and in the presence of one or both of the umpires, not earlier than 30 minutes, nor later than 15 minutes before the scheduled or any rescheduled time for the start of play.”

And Law 13.5 says: “As soon as the toss is completed, the captain of the side winning the toss shall decide whether to bat or to field and shall notify the opposing captain and the umpires of this decision. Once notified, the decision cannot be changed.”

 

READ: Sourav Ganguly against abolition of toss from Test cricket

The toss has been discarded from the 2016 English County Championship with the visiting captain given the option to bat or bowl first.

The Cricket Committee, chaired by Anil Kumble, met here on Monday and Tuesday to brainstorm over many aspects of the game, including player behaviour, decided to retain the toss.

An ICC Press Release said: “The Committee discussed whether the toss should be automatically awarded to the visiting team, but felt that it was an integral part of Test cricket, which forms part of the narrative of the game. However, in acknowledging that the preparation of Test pitches that could provide a risk to the competitiveness of the ICC World Test Championship, the Committee urged Members to continue to focus on the delivery of pitches that provide a better balance between bat and ball, in line with the ICC regulations.”

The Committee also discussed player behaviour and culture of respect, the importance of the Spirit of Cricket to the game, and more specifically, the Code of Conduct and playing conditions of ICC World Test Championship. “The Committee echoed the sentiments of the ICC Chief Executives Committee and the ICC Board, and as such, we have made a series of recommendations as part of the creation of a culture of respect we can all adhere to,” said Kumble.

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The release said that the Committee applied its mind on (1) what can member boards do to create a better atmosphere of respect between teams and to provide for a fair contest on the field of play, (2) what does it mean to play in the spirit of cricket, and (3) the specific offences to be covered by the Code, the associated level of sanctions and the process for the consistent reporting, hearing and adjudication of charges brought under the Code.

The Committee further adopted the following in principle: (1) Giving greater authority and support to match officials, (2) Greater leadership accountability for Boards and team support staff, (3) Clear expectations for the treatment of visiting teams, particularly around practice facilities, warm-up matches and logistical arrangements, and (4) Greater education for all young players on the history and spirit of the game.

On the Code of Conduct offences, the Committee has recommended the following: (1) Raising the sanctions associated with ball tampering, (2) Creating a new offence for offensive, personal, insulting, offensive or orchestrated abuse, and (3) The consideration of the introduction of a new offence of attempting to gain an unfair advantage.

The Committee also recommended creating a Code of Respect clause that will give power to the Match Referee to have the authority to downgrade or upgrade a level of offence or sanction.

The Committee’s recommendations will be placed before the ICC Board in June.