The End of the Toss?

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cricket-tossThis week I was extremely fortunate to be sent an article from a guy with an awesome cricket (and wine blog). Warren Edwardes blogs about food, wine and perhaps cricket at Wine for Spice; you should definitely check him out. His article addresses some radical reform that the game of cricket really needs. We should get rid of the toss once and for all and start bidding wars to eliminate chance out of the game of cricket.

Quite a crazy idea huh?? But think about, it could work. Would W.G. Grace have thought we’d ever be playing in our pyjamas? Could he have envisaged playing a 6 week pay day and never having to work again??

Cricket commentators often say “he will want to win the toss this morning” and Richie Benaud is alleged to have said: “What an unlucky tosser that man is”.

Winning or losing the Toss in a cricket match can make a dramatic difference to the result and reduces the importance of skill not just in One Day games but also in Test matches.

Even more important than the actual effect that a lucky Toss has on a result is the perception that winning the toss is cruicial.

I have often heard a losing captain complain “It was an important toss to win”.

Cricket is now too important to still be a game of chance. The game has moved on from home umpires. Cricket now has a third umpire with video evidence.

I recommend that The Toss to choose to bat or field should be replaced by The Bid.

I suggest that the two captains should bid in runs for the right to elect to bat or field first. The team with the higher bid wins the right to elect.

The runs bid are awarded to the opposing side as Bid-Byes.

Bids should be for a minimum of Zero.

Should both captains bid the same number of runs then there will be a coin toss as currently but with the winner forfeiting the runs bid.


Method 1 – closed bids

In a sealed envelope, the captain of Team A Bids 30 runs.

In a sealed envelope, the captain of Team B Bids 10 runs.

The captain of Team A has the right to elect to bat or field.

30 runs are awarded to Team B as bid byes.

If the sealed bids are tied then the coin is tossed. But the winner has the right to elect and the loser receives bid bye runs of the amount of the tied bids.

Method 2 – open auction

To create more theatre bids could be as in an open auction with the umpire asking for bids in jumps of 5 runs.

“Who bids 5 runs?

The captain of Team A raises his hand first.

Then to the captain of Team B the umpire asks: “Do you bid 10 runs?

If the captain of Team B answers “yes” to the captain of Team A the umpire asks: “Do you bid 15 runs?

And so on until a captain declines to bid more.

The winning captain has the right to elect to bat or field and the losing captain’s team receives bid bye runs of the amount of the bid.

I would recommend the Method 2 – open auction – as providing more theatre and tension.

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  1. andy says

    To be honest i do not think this idea would work, although i agree we need to take the chance out of the game.
    How about just giving the home side the choice of batting or bowling first?

  2. says

    So Andy why don’t you think it would work?

    Both captains just talk it over with their coaches beforehand and judge that The Toss giving the right to bat or field first is worth 10 runs or 20 runs or 30 runs or whatever.

    And then it is a poker game instead of the toss to bid less than what you think the toss is worth.

    And if you win the bid you give the runs away – but hopefully less than what you think the choice to bat or field is worth.


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