LAHORE: While legendary batsman Javed Miandad has endorsed International Cricket Council’s proposal to abolish toss from the game, another former Test cricketer Salim Altaf says instead of doing away with the tradition, the game’s governing body should introduce international curators to produce standardised pitches.
The ICC’s cricket committee will debate removing the toss when it meets in Mumbai later this month.
The panel, which operates in an advisory role and can only make recommendations to the ICC chief executives’ committee, is due to consider whether the choice to bat or bowl first should be given to the visiting captain to encourage fairer pitches.
“There is no harm if the ICC tries to go with the new system of abolishing the toss. Ultimately, the move may force the home team to prepare pitches of good standard instead of focusing on preparing tracks that [completely] suit them,” Miandad said while talking to Dawn on Saturday.
“No doubt, toss is an integral part [of the game] but you have to experiment in order to achieve better results in the game; and this move [of abolishing toss system] may also prove helpful in introducing the tradition of producing good-standard pitches, as tracks giving unfair help to home teams has become a major hurdle in recent years for touring squads,” Miandad, a veteran of 124 Tests, added.
On the other hand, Salim insists that toss should remain part of the game.
“Toss is an integral and traditional part of cricket. Therefore, abolishing it does not make any sense. In fact, toss is also a source of judging the wisdom of a captain who is required to make a call in case he wins the toss. And his acumen is then proven right or wrong at the end of the match which may result in victory or loss for his team,” Salim told Dawn.
“As PCB’s chief operating officer, I have been attending ICC meetings during which there were discussions regarding introducing international curators to maintain the standard of pitches.
“I think having international curators with a set guideline to make sporting pitches would be a better option instead of ending the toss,” Salim reckoned.
“In India and Pakistan slow-and-low pitches are prepared which help home sides win matches rather easily as this region generally has [world’s] best spinners. However, when the same team [from sub-continent] tours England, Australia or New Zealand it fails to produce good performance mainly because pitches in these countries are in complete contrast to sub-continent tracks,” Salim elaborated.
“Every cricket board wants to prepare pitches [in home games] that suits its own team whereas an international curator will prepare pitches according to the standards set by the ICC, giving equal opportunities to both home and touring teams to excel with their available resources.
He added, “It is better for cricket that it should be played on sporting wickets, giving equal help to batsmen, spinners and seamers and that is a big challenge for the ICC.
“And to achieve this scenario [of sporting tracks], the ICC should come out with a comprehensive programme to install international curators having the ability to prepare sporting wickets all over the world,” he said.
“I remember in 1987, Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir had taken nine wickets on the first day of the first Test against England at the Gaddafi Stadium while other bowlers remained wicketless,” he recalled.
Asked if drop-in pitches could be the alternative of having equal standard pitches throughout the cricketing world, Salim did not agree. “It would create other problems; rather than drop-in pitches, expert curators can be a much better option.”