Next summer’s Ashes series in England could be the first in 141 years of Test cricket to be played without the toss taking place as the International Cricket Council considers ways to reduce the impact of home advantage in its World Test Championship.
England’s attempt to wrestle the urn back from Australia in 2019 is set to be the first series of the new nine-country competition . According to ESPNCricinfo, the ICC’s cricket committee will debate removing the toss when it meets in Mumbai at the end of May.
The panel, which operates in an advisory capacity and can only make recommendations to the ICC chief executives’ committee, is due to consider whether the option to bat or bowl first should be given to the visiting captain to encourage fairer pitches.
A similar tweak has been in place in the County Championship since 2016, whereby the away captain has the option to either bowl first or have the toss. This was brought in to cut down the number of green, seaming surfaces, which were felt to be promoting medium pace, hindering spinners and not replicating conditions encountered at Test level.
The ICC cricket committee, chaired by India’s former spinner Anil Kumble, will also look to devise a points system for the Test championship in which the top nine teams play three series at home and three away over a two-year period – not all plays all – with the top two teams in the league contesting a showpiece final.
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Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board has been warned by the former Somerset chairman Andy Nash that the 18 first-class counties and Marylebone Cricket Club could form a breakaway body akin to football’s Premier League or rugby’s Premiership.
Nash stood down as an ECB board director last month citing issues over the management style of its chairman, Colin Graves, and a belief that both the new 100-ball tournament and mooted compensation payments for Test grounds that miss out on hosting matches could “promote eight counties as the first among equals”.
He told BBC Sport: “Unless trust is re-established in the national governing body by its principal 19 members, then it’s possible that the clubs may look at what has happened in football and rugby where they decide to form their own body within the auspices of the national governing body to represent their interests in a different way.”
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