Toss to stay in Test, confirms ICC

Decision was taken after annual meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday

Toss to stay in Test, confirms ICC PHOTO: REUTERS

Cricket's world body on Tuesday decided against scrapping the toss in Test cricket, describing it an integral part of the game.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) was mulling doing away with the flip of the coin during the World Test Championship scheduled to start from July 2019 as part of measures to boost the flagging fortunes of the long format.

The ICC cricket committee chaired by Indian spin legend Anil Kumble debated the toss among other issues such as player behaviour during their two-day meeting in Mumbai.

"The committee discussed whether the toss should be automatically awarded to the visiting team but felt that it was an integral part of Test cricket which forms part of the narrative of the game," the ICC said in a statement.

However the committee, which includes  cricketing greats like Mike Gatting, Mahela Jayawardene and David Boon, urged members to deliver quality pitches that provide a better balance between bat and ball.

It also focused on improving player behaviour and upholding the spirit of the game which has been hit by a recent ball-tampering scandal.

The ICC was criticised after it banned Australia skipper Steve Smith for only one Test over his role in the scandal in South Africa in March in which batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught trying to alter the ball.

After a wave of public anger, Cricket Australia later banned Smith and his deputy David Warner for 12 months. Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension.

"The group felt that excessive personal abuse and ball tampering were serious offences in the game and that should be reflected in the way in which they are dealt with," Kumble was quoted as saying in the release. "There was also strong support for giving the match officials more authority and subsequently greater support around their decision making," the former leg-spinner added.

The committee has made a series of recommendations to be shared with the chief executives' committee in June before final ratification by the ICC board.