Does Anyone Give a Toss

Ahead of the start of the summer test cricket season, I see the authorities are thinking of changing the rules so that the visiting team have automatic choice whether to bat or bowl first.

Agnew is set against it, what does the forum think?

Ray

Original Post

I think it's going too far for all tests in a series. The underlying issue is, of course, that away sides aren't winning very many matches and, in many cases, surfaces are being prepared to suit the strengths of the home side - although I think it's also the case that modern day teams don't seem to rise to the challenge and adapt as in times passed. One thing I hate though is when a track starts to crumble late Day3 onwards. Some of the commentators refer to these as 'result tracks' and seem to think this is OK - they seem more of a lottery to me. The 'Bakerloo line' ball at pace is almost impossible to defend.

My initial thinking is that they should toss on the 1st match and alternate thereafter -  e.g. the venues will be set so the type of tracks should be known/appreciated, so it becomes a tactical judgement, rather than seeing a team lose a series effectively on calls of the coin.  For a 5 match series (I think rare nowadays?), I would give the away team the 5th call.

The strange thing is how neglected the longer forms of the game are becoming by those who purport to run the sport.

Most cricket fans I know all look forward to Test Matches as the ultimate sporting challenge in the game. Yet the ECB rarely discuss it, curtail opportunities for County cricketers to play longer games and arrange tours where the lack of preparation is so rudimentary the players struggle from the first session.

Abandoning the toss is just ridiculous and another symptom of the deep malaise around the game.

 

winkyincanada posted:

The number of tosses I give about cricket could be counted on no fingers. I literally have zero tosses to give. A stupid sport, and at the professional level, full of overpaid, entitled cheaters.

Adding your tosses to mine still results in the same number!

winkyincanada posted:

The number of tosses I give about cricket could be counted on no fingers. I literally have zero tosses to give. A stupid sport, and at the professional level, full of overpaid, entitled cheaters.

Winky - that's what I think about baseball, or rounders as we could call it in the UK. There are goods and bads (or baddies!) in any sport, let's not just confine things to cricket - and I suspect not many national governing bodies would have acted so strenuously against their captain and VC, as the Aussies did with Smith and Warner.  

The prize money for elite sport, be it tennis, golf, even footballer wages in the UK & elsewhere, does look to have lost contact with reality for many. I suppose it's all symptoms of an increasingly media driven world. The rewards for most professional cricket players are relatively low compared to other sports.

Back to the cricket and the OP's query, it seems it now doesn't matter if the away side wins or loses the toss against England - the result will be an away win by some margin, sadly. 

winkyincanada posted:

The number of tosses I give about cricket could be counted on no fingers. I literally have zero tosses to give. A stupid sport, and at the professional level, full of overpaid, entitled cheaters.

Back in the 19th century, cricket was used as a way of civilising the colonies. Unfortunately, those countries that adopted the game quickly became better at it than the imperial mother country. Obviously, Canada didn't take cricket to their bosom: perhaps it was too cold there or maybe other sports were already entrenched, such as that one where they try to clean a bass broom on ice which by the way I don't give a flying for.

Ray

Coming to this late but I'm unclear exactly what problem this change was meant to solve.

Home advantage is significant in cricket because of the degree to which local climate/pitch etc conditions are peculiar to that country. Is that wrong? Cricket gains a huge amount of interest from these variations, and the skills etc required to exploit them. Winning an away series is meant to be tough.

I think in County Cricket it was meant to encourage better wicket preparation. Not sure it has worked or not.

I'll be at Headingley this weekend and expect it to be sold out and jumping. Sadly test cricket rarely gets these crowds away from UK and Australia. Far more deep seated changes behind these falling attendances and also the lack of youngsters joining clubs (I still play regular league cricket). I point a major finger of blame at the loss of free-to-view TV coverage myself.

Bruce

Hi Bruce,

I believe the proposal was to give the away team choice as a way of preventing groundsman from preparing pitches favourable to the home team.

Aggers did a good piece on why it wouldn't work. Typically, the ECCB were in  favour.

Anyway, enjoy Headingley and I hope you see some great cricket. I'm going to Edgbaston in August to see the first test against India.

Ray

A poor bowling performance by England.  I guess a one-off loss on a game that only meant something to the opposition shouldn't be  cause to ring alarm bells. A much more reliable indicator is coming with the one-day matches against the Aussies.  England won't under-estimate them.     

And the England women's team also turned things around against SA, having batted poorly in the first ODI.

Such a shame the Aussie team is without the likes of Smith & Warner purely from a sporting POV - plus they have 3 quick bowlers missing in Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins. 

 

MDS posted:

'Normal service' resumed today. Thank goodness

I was at that game at the Oval. England were OK - and the Morgan/Root partnership was very good, some of the England bowling was excellent but generally the Aussies weren't great (some of their fielding was comical), and England conceded too many rather soft wickets when the opposition got their bowling tactics right.

As a side note, much sandpaper was evident in the stands.

It's a shame the boundary on one side was so small - which invalidates England's headline score IMV - but the batting was mightily impressive. You know when Jason Roy is hitting glorious cover drives he's in good nick. Just such a shame we're playing what is not far off an an Aussie 2nd XI. I understand Smith & Warner will be eligible for the ODI WC in c.12m's time and it will be interesting, subject to form, whether they will be considered for selection. The Aussies appear to have problems in their top order without them. 

The cricket purist in me wants to see a better contest between the batters and bowlers. I don't understand why they cannot use a white ball which has similar qualities to a red Duke/Reader or somesuch, noting they are now using 2 white balls per ODI innings.  

I agree something has to be done for this format. I'd suggest an urgent change before the last game of the series in Manchester; larger boundaries, maybe bowlers can deliver from 18 instead of 22 yards. How about one hand, one bounce for catches? All might make it fairer.

All just for when England are batting of course

Bruce

(Where is Nick-from-Suffolk these days??)

Seriously a bit of thought probably does need to go into the ODI formats to bring bowlers back into the equation. I'm not sure what the boundaries were like at Trent bridge but some of the T20 ones are daft. They look smaller than my club; especially when you see consider razor cut outfields vs our lush meadow!

The issue with the white ball seems to be that it has a poor seam and also swings less. Using two just gives batsmen a harder ball for longer. I think the lacquer/structure needs thinking about. Interestingly the pink ball seems to swing OK and we have found that at our club too.

The main problem to me seems to be the wickets.

A ideal Test wicket has time to develop and then wear over several days. The ODI strips don't get that progression so I think they are making flat and hard strips of choice. Time to leave a little green on, or maybe use a strip more than once? Lower scoring games can be thrilling too.

It cannot be denied that T20 and ODI batting skills and attitudes have enlivened Test matches too. I think 4 day Tests are now entirely reasonable on most continents due to faster scoring and more attacking play. I want the boundaries to remain big at Test matches and wickets to have something for bowlers though. Not always the case even in the last Ashes.

Back to the England ODI team. I hope they can maintain this momentum. Would Stokes/Woakes even get a place in the side now if fit? There is something really exciting about watching a team playing with such skill and confidence and absolutely no fear.

Bruce

 

Bruce,

I agree - but I'm not sure whether the paying public wants to see more of a contest between bat and ball(?). I do and, doubtless, we've both played club games on very flat tracks which are very dispiriting for bowlers (me!). IIRC, the suggested format/outline for the 100-ball games (sounds a nonsense to me) is founded on hitting & boundaries as the primary entertainment factor.

Athers' piece in The Times yesterday posed the question of who will want to take up bowling if things continue to the skewed towards batters...only Trevor Chappell need apply. He also thinks the 2nd new white ball at 34 overs in ODIs should be dispensed with, given it just goes quicker off the bat and offers the bowlers little.

I understand the ICC control the pitches at ODI WC's, so we might see some more balance when the chips are down - noting the Aussie's should have a better team in 2019.

Above said, I watched an Aussie  BBL game a while back where the track offered a lot of turn and the team batting first struggled to ~70 all out (IIRC). The opposition were something like 50-7 (or 7-50). It was fascinating to watch batters who had no clue what to do. 

Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Seriously a bit of thought probably does need to go into the ODI formats to bring bowlers back into the equation. I'm not sure what the boundaries were like at Trent bridge but some of the T20 ones are daft. They look smaller than my club; especially when you see consider razor cut outfields vs our lush meadow!

 

 

The problem with Trent Bridge is that the ground is stuck on a corner surrounded by development / fairly major roads.

Google Maps shows the problem well... https://goo.gl/tMCYPQ

 

Eloise posted:
Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Seriously a bit of thought probably does need to go into the ODI formats to bring bowlers back into the equation. I'm not sure what the boundaries were like at Trent bridge but some of the T20 ones are daft. They look smaller than my club; especially when you see consider razor cut outfields vs our lush meadow!

 

 

The problem with Trent Bridge is that the ground is stuck on a corner surrounded by development / fairly major roads.

Google Maps shows the problem well... https://goo.gl/tMCYPQ

Lovely ground. I lived in Nottingham for 6yrs.

The ground is a perfectly reasonable size but often the boundary markers are pulled in substantially to demarcate a smaller playing area. Not sure if that was the case this week from just watching TV highlights. Last T20 I attended at Headingly must have been 15-20m all round they brought the boundary in.

Bruce

Well, that was a close one! I thought Buttler had erred towards the end when he left Jake Ball to face quite a few balls and it was great to see the crowd applauding Jake for playing out a maiden from Agar. Such fine margins and high drama in what was quite a low scoring game. The England top order batters should be the ones buying the refreshments tonight - 27-4!

India up next, which could prove far more testing with Kohli, Dhoni and co. 

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