The coin toss plays a vital role in any cricket match. All the teams wish to win the toss to be able to exploit their strengths or the opponent's weakness. Every single Test match that has been played since the first-ever game between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March 1877 has begun with a toss of the coin. The home captain flips the coin and the visiting captain calls heads or tails. As much as a requirement, the coin toss has become a tradition in the sport.
Since the International Cricket Council (ICC) is trying everything possible to improve Test cricket, one of the numerous suggestions is to abandon the toss in favour of giving the visiting captain the choice of whether to bat or bowl first, thus negating the home side's opportunity to extract any advantage from the pitch.
During the ICC's cricket committee meeting scheduled for May 28 and 29 in Mumbai, the relevance of the practice will be questioned.
"Test cricket’s fundamental starting point may bea scrapped, as the ICC’s cricket committee prepares to debate whether or not the coin toss should be removed as a way of reducing home ground advantage in the looming Test Championship," ESPNCricinfo quoted a letter, which has been sent to all the panel members, as saying.
"There is serious concern about the current level of home team interference in Test pitch preparation, and more than one committee member believes that the toss should be automatically awarded to the visiting team in each match, although there are some others on the committee who do not share that view," the letter added.
The ICC Cricket Committee features former India captain and coach Anil Kumble, Andrew Strauss, Mahela Jayawardene, Rahul Dravid, Tim May, New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White, umpire Richard Kettleborough, ICC match referees’ chief Ranjan Madugalle, Shaun Pollock and Clare Connor.
Since 2016, England's County Championship had given visiting captains the opportunity to decide whether to bat or bowl without a coin toss.
If the rule does change, it would need to come into play before the start of the first-ever World Test Championship, which gets underway next year and runs through until 2021.