The coin toss in cricket, should it change?

6 January 2022

Haris Aziz, Scientia Associate Professor at UNSW’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, has proposed a new way of managing the customary coin toss that precedes a cricket match. Presently the winner of the toss decides whether their team will bat or bowl first.

Depending on factors such as the state of the playing field, and anticipated weather conditions during the course of play — which can have an impact on the outcome of the game — the winner of the toss can have a substantial advantage.

Under this method, the toss takes place as normal, but instead of the winning captain choosing whether to bat or bowl first – and thus immediately gaining a potentially strong position – the losing captain would instead make a proposal. The losing captain would make his own determination on how many runs advantage he feels would be gained by batting first. For example, in a Test match, he may feel that a pitch that looks easy to bat on for the opening couple of days but might later produce turn, is effectively ‘worth’ an extra 100 runs to the team that bats first. To counter that advantage he then proposes an offer to the captain who won the toss, by way of a choice. Either bat first and give up 100 runs, or choose to bowl and take the 100 bonus runs for his own team.

I’d be interested to see this in action. In the meantime, in regards to the men’s cricket series currently in progress, well, anything that might for a slightly more even contest, I say.