Toss will remain in the Laws, insists MCC

Bipin Dani

Observer Correspondent

Auckland (New Zealand)

Though the International Cricket Council (ICC) is discussing to scrap the toss, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the laws of the game will not remove the law portion on toss from the book.
This was revealed by Fraser Stewart, the Cricket Academy Manager, at the MCC.
Speaking exclusively from Lord’s on Friday evening, he said, “MCC is responsible for writing the Laws of Cricket and there are no plans to remove the toss from the Laws, which is a time-honoured tradition of the game for the choice of innings”.
“It is within the remit of any Governing Body to write a Playing Regulation which alters the Law; an example with the toss is the system that is used in the English County Championship, where the visiting side has the option of fielding first”, he further added.
Retain toss for Tests
Former ICC umpire Dickie Bird is also not in favor of scrapping the toss.
Speaking exclusively, he said, “the toss at least should not be scrapped from the Test matches. It is very important, full of excitement and fans look forward to the toss ceremony”.
“Let it be scrapped from the county games in England, but should not be removed from the Test matches. It has been in the (Test) game since its inception and charm should not be taken away”. Bird, 89, said.
Bird and The Lady
If the toss is taken away from the game, captain like Saleem Malik will have no opportunity to call “bird”.
20 years ago, it was the first occasion that the toss in a Test was retaken. It so happened that when Zimbabwe skipper Andy Flower tossed the coin, his counterpart Salim Malik called ‘Bird’ instead of calling a ‘head or a ‘tail’. The bird, on one side of the coin, is the national symbol of Zimbabwe. The bird side of the coin was visible as it fell. Pakistan captain claimed he won the toss and was congratulated by the home captain.
However, the match-referee, Jackie Hendricks, a former captain of the West Indies, was not satisfied and ordered re-toss.
“It was not a pre-decided call. I had just seen the bird on coin before it was tossed up in the air and it (bird) came out from my mouth”, Malik, 55, recalled exclusively to this reporter, 20 years after the incident.
Interestingly, instead of calling head or tail, Dr. W.G. (William Gilbert) Grace once called “The Lady” at the toss. Because the coin had Queen Victoria on one side and Britannia on the other side.

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