Monday, July 26, 2010


A number of things that have happened in quick succession have prompted this thought in me. First, I'll tell you what events happened.

First, Kumar Sangakkara criticised the ICC Ranking system (he's not the first one to do that!)... Second, in his latest article on 'It Figures' in Cricinfo, S Rajesh, the extraordinary stats-man observed that Sri Lanka has the most imposing home record after winning the toss. They have never lost a Test in last ten years at home after winning the toss. And third, on the comments page in this article by S Rajesh, I read someone's comment that said that the ICC Rankings should also consider the factor of tosses won / lost.

I have been thinking more and more about that comment. And it does make a lot of sense. Most of the Test matches (and even ODIs between competent teams, for that matter) are being decided at the time of the toss itself (unless ofcourse, you have captain called Ricky Ponting who always starts with "We'll have a bat!" after every toss win)!

So if a team can defy the odds, lose the toss and still end up winning the match, then it does deserve some more respect than other ordinary wins! There might also be cases of dilemma where a captain is unsure of what to do on winning the toss. The two captains may have different opinions. For example, at the Leeds Test, Ricky Ponting elected to bat first on winning the toss... but I am sure Salman Butt would have preferred a bowl had he won the toss!

In such cases, a problem arises. Pakistan won this game... and had the system of accounting for tosses been in place, they would have earned more points as they won that Test after losing the toss. Had they won the toss and then won the Test in a similar manner, they would have earned relatively lesser points.

To provide for such a problem, I have a solution. It's pretty simple. Just before the toss, the two captains must separately reveal what they decide to do in case they win the toss. If both captains had pre-decided at bat-first or a bowl-first strategy, then the toss factor should be considered important and extra points should be awarded to teams that lose the toss and win the match. But if one captain says bat-first and the other says bowl-first before the toss, the toss factor should be considered as 'not crucial' for that match and there will be no need to provide bonus points at the end of the match to either winner.

This would make the points system a lot more meaningful, especially in this day and age when teams are almost guaranteed not to lose a Test after winning the toss at Colombo. Even MS Dhoni will be thankful... considering the fact that he's not managed to win a single toss in Test cricket in his last six trysts with the spinning coin!


Soulberry said...

The thing is revealing beforehand may stretch ACU beyond their capacity.

Unknown said...

Well,I read this post on a blog called 'Freehit' about the ICC ratings and what is actually should be.Seemed nice.Check it out maybe.