Remember all the talk about tests being trimmed to four-day duration a couple of years ago?

Notice how that idea has fallen silent in recent months?

There was a significant appetite for it. Big names, such as Mark Taylor, Shane Warne and Greg Chappell, were backing it to, at the least, be seriously considered.

But the early stages of information dripping out on the inaugural test championship shows no sign of support for trimming a day off tests.


However doing away with the coin toss, which has started every test since 1877, is now the hot topic of the moment.

The International Cricket Council is still finalising details of the inaugural event. That process, not unusually for the ICC, has moved at glacial pace.

There is talk about doing away with the toss, as England have done for their county championship in the last couple of years. Over there, the visiting team can choose if it wants to field first.

In the case of Kent, who have New Zealand seamer Matt Henry as their star turn right now, they didn't have a toss in their first four championship games.

Henry admitted it wouldn't be his preference but as they have Henry the leading wicket taker through both divisions, Kent won't be complaining.

That idea has considerable support, as a means of halting the habit of some countries preparing pitches to overtly suit their own teams.

But is there a disproportionate amount of weight put on the toss?

Take New Zealand's case.


New Zealand have played 426 tests. They have won the toss 212 times, or 49.7 percent of their matches.

When New Zealand have won the toss, they have lost 40 percent of the tests, and won 23 percent.

When they have lost the toss they have also lost 40 percent of tests, and won 20 percent. Ergo, an argument can be made that the toss has often been irrelevant.

If those figures were seriously skewed one way that would be a very different story.

Several high profile cricket identities have called for doing away with the toss, including Ricky Ponting, Ian Botham, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh.

Former West Indies great Michael Holding is also in that camp, but with one proviso.
''The minor setback there is that tosses are big for television. It makes for good tension. Everyone is focussed on that coin.

''But times have changed, interest is waning in test cricket. What you need to do now is make sure you have even contests between bat and ball,'' he wrote before backing the visiting captain having the choice.

The idea certainly has legs, even if it removes some of the more egregious examples of pitch unpreparedness.

The ECB reported that under the no toss regulation, 85 percent of matches in 2016 went into a fourth day compared to 74 percent in 2015.

First innings totals were slightly up; the second innings average shot up by 53 runs.

A total of 843 wickets were taken by spin in 2016, up from 752 in 2015.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White is on that committee while coach Mike Hesson is tipped to replace former Australian coach Darren Lehmann as the coaching representative.

The ICC said last week that it expected full Future Tours Programme information — which governs the international schedule, including the test championship, to involve nine teams playing home and away series starting late next year — to have been released this week.

There's still no sign, White won't talk until it is made public.

A wise bet would be on nothing coming out until the next annual meeting of the ICC, in Dublin next month. Cricket is not a business to be rushed.