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By Chris Marshall
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Cricket Debate: A Modified Toss

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The second test at Chennai last week between India and England provided enough debating points to a) prove the enduring value of Test Cricket and b) keep even the most obsessive Cricket Badger content.

The state of the pitch, the use of DRS, the behaviour of Kholi in particular provide more than enough to keep Twitter busy before the IPL Auction provided a brief (and often humorous) interlude before the build up to the third test began.

Just time then to squeeze in a bit of an old chestnut, but a chestnut that was raised again: the relevance and importance of the toss. At Chennai this was a hot topic for the first day or so, but declined a little as it became more and more obvious that the real differnece in the two teams scores was that India could bat well against average spin and England could only bat poorly against high quality spin.

Still what to do about the toss rumbles on, and will continue to do so for a while yet.

Or will it ……..

I am very reluctant to disperse with traditions for the sake of innovation, but at the same time a tradition held onto for sentimental reasons eventually becomes resented, pointless and unwanted.

I have a proposal that still involves the toss, but levels the playing field a little more fairly.

Let me start with the process based on a Five Day series: Team A decides who bats first in the 1st and 3rd test, Team B decides who bats first in the 2nd and 4th test. Who bats first in the 5th test is decided by the team that is leading the series, or in the event of the series being level the visiting team decides who bats first.

As to who is Team A (1st and 3rd) and Team B (2nd and 4th) …… toss for it. One toss at the beginning of the series retains the tradition and pageantry and sets the scene for the whole series.

The process can easily be modified for seres comprising of odd games i.e. 3 (a one test series just needs the pre series toss) and for a 2 or 4 game series, well you just don’t need the 5th test process, which means the pre series toss, followed by the odd/even approach works for all scenarios.

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