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ICC are planning to scrap one of Test cricket's oldest traditions

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At a time when it feels as though nothing in cricket is sacred, the ICC are proposing a significant change to the Test format.

While the ECB take considerable and deserved flak over their plans for 'The Hundred', the international game's governing body are at least gearing towards a more helpful regulation which would do away with the toss at the start of the matches.

The tradition began with the very first Test back in 1877, when Australia and England first went head-to-head, but its growing significance in recent years has caused concern.

The ICC's cricket committee are now planning to meet to discuss scrapping the practice of a coin-toss dictating which teams bats first, with ESPNCricinfo citing the following notes:

"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 correlation between the side that wins the toss and the side that proves victorious overall has caused alarm amid suggestions home teams are increasingly manipulating the conditions of the pitch to suit them.

The changes could be introduced in time for the Test Championship and would start with the 2019 Ashes, which will be held in England.

In the County Championship, the visiting captain can opt to bowl first, though a toss can still be used as a back-up if he does not decide either way. That's been the case in the English four-day game for two years, yet the idea is once again being discussed in the context of Tests.

Ironically, Darren Lehmann has been one of the leading advocates of getting rid of the toss all together, but he will now have no say in the matter having resigned as Australia coach in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa.

Australia v England - Fifth Test: Day 1

England came under fire in the 2015 Ashes series in particular for allegedly interfering with the pitch to reduce the impact of Mitchell Johnson.

By evening things up, it's also hoped more Tests will go to the fifth day. The suspense of the toss is supposed to add an element of excitement, but the inevitable consequence of its new-found prominence is that interest is being dampened by uncompetitive Tests.

It's set to be a scintillating summer of cricket, with England facing Pakistan and India at home. The West Indies will take on Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Do you think the toss should be scrapped? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
England cricket
The Ashes
India cricket
Pakistan cricket
Australia cricket
Cricket

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