ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad on Wednesday advised the International Cricket Council (ICC) against considering calls by former players 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 seem Test cricket drop to a mediocre level. I fear abandoning the toss will further disturb Test cricket,” he told APP.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and West Indies great Michael Holding recently called cricket chiefs to expunge the toss from Test matches.
Ponting suggested during the recent Ashes series in England that the away side be given the power to 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 to benefit a touring team.
But Miandad, who played 124 Tests for Pakistan, said that discarding toss may prove to be another blow to Test cricket 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 also impacted the home side so there was no logic behind the calls by Ponting and Waugh.
Miandad said proposals to dump the toss were being floated after Australia suffered defeat in the recently concluded Ashes series in England adding that it was Michael Clarke’s team’s failure to adapt to English conditions that cost them dearly rather than anything else.
“They played as if they were playing in Australia. Their batting technique was flawed and they played against merit. The toss cannot be blamed for their disappointing performance.”
The batting great was of the view that quality Test players were vanishing from all cricket playing nations adding that like past cricketers, modern batsman needed to 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 wickets 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 decided to experiment with the idea of abandoning the toss.
“I don’t mind if the authorities concerned tried to experiment. But I believe this is not going to happen as several countries, including India will oppose any such move.”