Yorkshire’s Andrew Gale slams ECB over plans to scrap mandatory toss

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale.
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale.

ANDREW GALE has described the decision to scrap the mandatory toss in County Championship matches as “absolute madness” and insists Yorkshire should have been consulted over the controversial move by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The Yorkshire captain has slammed the governing body for introducing a change that will be trialled in both divisions in 2016 to encourage clubs to produce better pitches and help the development of spin bowlers.

Gale believes the real reason for the lack of English spinners is the ECB’s poor scheduling, with half of the Championship programme shunted into the seamer-friendly months of April and May.

Under the new rule, the visiting captain will be offered the chance to bowl first and only if he declines will a toss take place.

“Absolute madness,” said Gale. “From Yorkshire’s point of view, no one’s been consulted throughout the club, and as county champions we would like to have been involved in some way in the decision.

“The majority of our (Championship) games are played in April, May and September.

“We probably play more than half the season in conditions which are more suited to seam bowling.

“They talk about spinners having more effect and bowling more overs in county cricket, but it’s very difficult for us, particularly playing up north as well, to produce pitches that spin a lot at those times of the year.

“Also, due to some weak decisions, there’s been no points docked over the last three or four years in Championship cricket.

“If the pitches are that bad, why haven’t there been points docked?”

Gale predicted captains would choose to bowl at Headingley and produce flat pitches when Yorkshire travel, fearful of the champions’ seam attack.

“Chances are people will come to Headingley and I imagine they’ll bowl first, particularly if there’s a little bit of cloud cover because we know how that affects conditions,” he said.

“I’d be very surprised if we go away and we’re playing on pitches that are damp and seam around with our seam attack.

“I would imagine teams will produce flatter wickets, but that’s for us to work on.”

Gale said it would not change Yorkshire’s game plan.

“I don’t think it will change the way we play that much,” he added.

“I just think the toss has been there since the start of time and it’s always worked.

“No one else has changed it round the world, so why are we messing with it?”