ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad has advised the International Cricket Council (ICC) to move with caution before paying any consideration to calls to rid Test cricket of the toss. “Instead of dumping the century-old tradition of toss, the ICC should focus on removing faults which have turned Test cricket to a mediocre level. I fear abandoning the toss will further disturb Test cricket,” he said.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and West Indies great Michael Holding have recently called cricket chiefs to redeem Test cricket of the toss. Ponting, during the recent Ashes series in England, has suggested that the away side should choose who bats first in order to counteract any advantage the hosts may gain from preparing a pitch that suits them best. Steve Waugh, another former Australian captain, also expressed the same sentiment and backed the idea of abandoning the toss for giving advantage to a touring team.
But Miandad believes that discarding the toss may cause serious setback to Test cricket, a format which he said has already lost attraction after the influx of T20 cricket. “Toss is good for cricket. It gives way to a lot of discussion on television and radio. Everyone remains attached and curious from the time when the coin is in the air till a captain wins and takes a decision to elect to bat or otherwise.” He said that winning or losing the toss could also impact preparations of the home side so it is equal for the two playing teams and therefore there was no logic to abandon it.
Miandad said proposals to dump the toss were being floated after Australia suffered defeat in the recently concluded Ashes series in England, adding that the loss of toss was not the main cause of their (Australia’s) failure, rather their batsmen’s failure to adapt to English conditions is what cost them dearly. “They played as if they were in Down Under. Their batting technique was flawed and they played against the merit. The toss cannot be blamed for their disappointing performance.”
He was of the view that quality Test players were vanishing from all cricket playing nations adding that like past cricketers the modern players should have the calibre to perform in all conditions. “Test cricket means putting players to test in some tough conditions. I believe the test of a player begins when he is made to play in alien conditions. A quality batsman or bowler can perform everywhere; whether he is at home or away.”
He said the ICC had clear rules about standard of pitches and asked the world’s cricket governing body to form a permanent committee for examining quality of Test pitches around the world. “The task of the committee should be to assess whether a wicket is playable or not. The committee should have clear cut directions to ensure standard pitches everywhere.” However; the former captain said that he would have no objection if ICC tries to do any experiment about with the toss. “I don’t mind if the authorities concerned try do an experiment. But I believe this is not going to happen as several countries, including India will oppose any such move,” he added.