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The toss winner is a term used in cricket and is the team that wins the heads or tails toss of coin at the beginning of a Test, one day or Twenty20 match which then enables the team captain to decide whether to bat or bowl first on the pitch.
Winning the toss can be a major advantage in cricket, as the state of the pitch can play a significant role in determining the outcome of a match. Having the option of batting or bowling first can sometimes be the deciding factor in an evenly-matched contest.
The toss occurs roughly half an hour before the start of the game and is overseen by the umpire and is contested by the two captains of the team after inspection of the pitch.
England’s County Championship no longer mandates a pre-match coin toss, and instead the away side has the choice of bowling first. If they decline to field, the toss takes place as normal. This was introduced to prevent teams producing pitches that unfairly favour their strengths over those of their opponents.
Scrapping the toss is also being considered by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
As explained, winning the toss is an important factor in cricket as it automatically gives the winning captain an advantage in the game.
For example, if the pitch is soft, then the wicket will favour spin bowlers whilst if the pitch is hard, then fast bowlers will be favoured.
This has a crucial factor in sports betting as the general rule in one day and T20 cricket is that it is better to bat second whereas in Test cricket, the advantage lies in batting first as the pitch wears over time and batting the fourth innings is seen as disadvantage.
The coin toss has been a feature in cricket for over 140 years as it was the method used back in 1877 in the inaugural test match between England and Australia at the Melbourne cricket ground. Australia won by 45 runs.