3rd Apr, 2020

Chief welcomes return of the toss in Championship

Rob George 22nd Mar, 2020

PEARS chief Alex Gidman has welcomed the return of the traditional ‘toss’ will return in County Championship cricket this summer, subject to the season going ahead.

The prospect of county cricket remains uncertain due to the coronavirus but should the seaseon take place, captains will again meet in the middle for the toss of a coin to decide who will bat and bowl first.

The previous four seasons of the County Championship had employed a playing condition whereby the visiting side could choose to forgo a toss and bowl first if they wished.

ECB bosses hoped the move would discourage groundsmen from preparing pitches which assisted seam bowlers to too great an extent early on, in an effort to give more opportunity to batsmen and spinners.

Early results were encouraging. In 2016, 85 per cent of matches went into a fourth day, the highest such figure since 2009, with spinners bowling more overs and taking more wickets compared to 2015. Average scores and the number of draws also increased.

However, the ECB have since concluded the rule wasn’t having the desired effect, and are hoping tougher penalties for poor pitches will help even up the balance between bat and ball instead. The points deduction handed down to Somerset for the overly spin-friendly surface prepared for their title decider against Essex is something of a statement of intent in this regard.

Gidman said: “It’s one of those where, like a lot of things with the game, the players just get on with it’’

“We all have different opinions on all aspects of the sport. I’m pleased we had the attitude to try it, and that we are open to trying new things and seeing if we can make the game better and evolve’’

Gidman believes that ultimately how a team performs will decide the outcome of matches.

He said: “I don’t think it will make a huge amount of difference. I think teams in general ended up putting too much thought into that decision.

“I think ultimately you’ve got to be the better team over the four innings and that’s certainly going to be our objective, playing better cricket over longer periods of time whatever happens with the toss.”

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