Sport is often notoriously reluctant to make rule changes, for fear of damaging the essential nature of the game. What changes would you make, however, to improve any game of your choice?
Two that spring to mind for me are:
Thaughbaer rightly mentions in another thread how the conditions in cricket can have a huge influence on the game. This is particularly true in test cricket, where the pitch can deteriorate a lot over 5 days and become much harder to bat on. It is therefore often an advantage to bat first, when the pitch is in much better condition. To give an example, scores of over 400 are quite common in first innings, but are much rarer in the fourth.
In cricket, you toss a coin to decide who starts. If you win the toss, you can decide to either bat or bowl. I have seen 3 match test series between quite balanced sides where one captain has won the toss each time, and this has effectively decided the entire series.
As thaughbaer also notes, the home side often has the advantage that the groundsman will prepare the pitch to suit the particular skills of the home side.
So, to help negate both of these, I would award the choice of batting and bowling in the first test to the away side, and then rotate after this.
Football (that's Pro-Soccerball to our American friends
I would make the penalty for handling the ball on the line to prevent a goal a penalty goal, and not a penalty kick and the sending off of the player. This is only where the offence would clearly have stopped the ball from going in the goal.
I think the current rule is wrong for 3 reasons:
1 If the ball was definitely going in the goal, then the current rule does not do what it should, which is to return the situation to what would have been the case if the infringement had not occurred. Penalty kicks are quite often saved, and being reduced to 10 men (particularly towards the end of the game) is not as much of a disadvantage as it might seem, as the team can simply go defensive.
2 Defenders who stick their hand out in these circumstances are often acting instinctively, in a split second decision, rather that making a calculated attempt to cheat. I think sending off in these circumstances is harsh, particularly when a deliberate (non-violent) trip, which is really cheating, normally incurs only a yellow card.
3 If the player is sent off early in a game, and the penalty is missed, then the character of the game is often changed, as the team reverts to a more defensive formation. Games which were open and attacking suddenly become defensive and attritional.
Do you agree? What would you change?