Former India skipper Gundappa Viswanath says anticipation is part of cricket’s fabric, and some thrill will go away if the toss is eliminated
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (second from left) tosses the coin during the first Test against England at Eden Park, Auckland in March. Pic/Getty Images
Doing away with the toss in Test cricket would deprive the game of its charm and thrill, reckoned Gundappa Viswanath, a former India captain. The Bangalore-based Viswanath, 69, was reacting to news of the International Cricket Council’s Cricket Committee discussing the relevance of the spin of the coin during their May 28-29 meeting in Mumbai.
The future of the toss has come into focus because often the host country enjoys an unfair advantage. “Personally, I am not in favour of doing away with the toss. The spectators and followers always want to know which captain has won it and whether he would bat or field first. Anticipation is part of cricket’s fabric, the charm of the game. I feel this thrill will go away if they do away with the toss,” Gundappa Viswanath told mid-day yesterday.
ESPN Cricinfo reported yesterday that the ICC’s Cricket Committee will discuss the playing conditions for the World Test Championship which kicks off after the 2019 World Cup in England.
The website quoted a letter sent out to all Cricket Committee members which says, “There is serious concern about the current level of home team interference in Test pitch preparation, and more than one committee member believes that the toss should be automatically awarded to the visiting team in each match, although there are some others on the committee who do not share that view.”
Viswanath led India in two Tests during the 1979-80 season and also wore the hat of an ICC match referee from 1999 to 2004. The erstwhile batting stylist, who figured in 91 Tests from 1969 to 1983, stressed that dealing with alien conditions is part and parcel of the game and therein also lies the challenge for the players.
“The thrill of playing Test cricket is to perform in different conditions,” said Viswanath, who enjoyed success in home and away series. In fact, India never lost a Test when he scored a century. Meanwhile, South African batting great Graeme Pollock has supported the idea of scrapping the toss. “I don’t have a problem with the toss being taken out of the game. It will even things out.
“For example, in England, a touring team will have problems dealing with overcast conditions, so they can choose to bowl first straightaway,” said Pollock from Johannesburg.