NZ coach joins calls to allow visiting team the choice of batting or bowling first.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has joined the growing calls for test cricket to do away with the toss.

The numbers on how infrequently teams win test matches away from home are a compelling argument to trial a plan whereby the visiting team is given the choice of batting or bowling first.

The idea is to prevent the more extreme examples of pitches being tailored to suit the home side, whether that be on the subcontinent or in Western countries.

Since the start of 2014, in series between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on one hand, and South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand on the other, the results are stark.


Only twice - Sri Lanka in England, and South Africa in Sri Lanka - has the visiting team won the series. Both were 1-0 victories, and both were in 2014.

On individual tests, the home sides have won 29 and lost just seven.

Hesson insists New Zealand's recent 3-0 drubbing in India has nothing to do with his belief it's time to try and redress the balance. That would be kneejerk thinking.

"If you look at those stats over a period of time, they've probably got out of whack a bit. You want to watch an even contest, and it's certainly not because we got outplayed in India," he said.

"There's no doubt batting first and third in India is a significant advantage over batting second and fourth. But just because you win the toss doesn't guarantee you're going to be able to make the most of it.

"I do think it's a good idea and certainly an idea worth investigating further," said Hesson, New Zealand coach since 2012.

"You still want touring, and winning, away from home to be incredibly difficult. Therefore, if you're able to achieve something away from home it's pretty special.

"[This move] would even the game up a bit and certainly stop home sides potentially making surfaces that are incredibly difficult," said the Black Caps' mentor.

Hesson remembered New Zealand's 2-1 series win in the West Indies, or beating Pakistan in Sharjah, both in 2014, as outstanding achievements.

"It certainly doesn't guarantee success, it's just that potentially there will be more touring sides winning around the world, which I think is not a bad thing."

There is precedent, albeit not in test cricket.

For the second consecutive season, next year English county cricket matches will start without a toss, the option going to the visiting captain. This year it was a success.

Among the ideas behind it were to promote spin bowling and improve batsmen's ability against spin.

This year 85 per cent of matches went into a fourth day, up 11 per cent from last year; and 843 championship wickets were taken by spin this year, up from 752.

"In may ways the statistics merely reinforced the feeling we had been picking up around the game throughout the summer, that the experiment was working in beginning to rebalance the game," said England Cricket Board cricket committee chairman Peter Wright.

Don't expect the International Cricket Council to endorse the plan any time soon.

"It was discussed but it didn't have much momentum at all," said New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White, also a member of the ICC's cricket committee.

"It will be interesting to see how it goes in England again this year."