Skipper's blog

Couldn't give a toss

Later this month the ICC will discuss a proposal to either give the away captain the choice of whether to bat or bowl or the option that the County Championship has chosen which is the visiting captain gets to either bowl first or revert to the toss to decide who bats first. The aim of this change is to stop home sides doctoring pitches to suit themselves and to improve the record of away teams on tour.

So what of the County Championship experiment? Well the amount of games going to Day 4 has increased by over 10%, an excellent achievement considering the fact that the 4 day games has largely been confined to the first and last thirds of the season when there is more chance of having damp/green seamer friendly wickets. However, the amount of away wins has actually reduced. So will it be any different in Test games? and if not, what else could be introduced to improve the balance in Test series.

One of the intrigues within Test cricket is how the pitch conditions change throughout the game. A little grass on the first day favouring seamers, giving way to a dryer batting pitch which takes more spin by day 4 and uneven bounce on day 5. There is a real danger under the new proposals that home sides will produce benign batting pitches to avoid any possible advantage being granted to the opposition. This would lead to dull cricket.

The other solution would be to prepare better when on tour. With the addition of the various 20 over games around the world, touring teams are getting less time to acclimatise to home pitches and climate. As the time available is unlikely to increase in the near future, then the ICC need to ensure touring teams receive the best practice and warmup games available.



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