Australian news February 25, 2010

Warner seeks answers on legality of switch-hit

Cricinfo staff

David Warner wants the ICC to clarify its stance on switch-hitting after the umpires in Tuesday night's Twenty20 against West Indies told him he couldn't face up right-handed. The left-handed Warner tried to get in position for a switch-hit against Narsingh Deonarine but the bowler backed out and Warner exchanged words with the umpires Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker after the incident.

"It was a funny one - Ox said to me, 'You can't do it because they have to chop and change the field all the time'," Warner told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I told him, 'Well it's not hard and I'll tell them when I'm going to bat right-handed or left-handed so they can change the field'. Whatever. I have to wait for the bowler to change from over the wicket to around the wicket so what's the difference? The umpires told me I have to notify the bowler so I turned around and said, 'OK, I'm going to bat right-handed.'

"Tuck looked at me and goes, 'Nuh'. I let it go. But then I went to the square-leg umpire in the next over and I said, 'Why can't I do it?' He basically said it's too much time and it's not in the spirit of the game. I still went to bat right-handed - but he shook his head again."

A Cricket Australia spokesman said their understanding was that Warner's tactic was not against the rules of cricket and might be an issue the ICC could decide on once and for all. When Kevin Pietersen showed off his left-handed switch-hit in 2008 it was ruled by the MCC, the guardians of the game's laws, that the stroke would not be made illegal.

Warner said he batted right-handed as a child and during most net sessions he bats right-handed for the last five minutes. He does not want to abandon the switch-hit, which he believes gives him the advantage of being able to hit with the turn regardless of whether an offspinner or a legspinner is operating.

"Last year at The Oval, we had a practice out in the middle and Haury [Nathan Hauritz] was bowling," Warner said. "They were turning square and I got sick of it. I couldn't hit a ball, so I batted right-handed and I started putting him into the stands. That's when Tim Nielsen said to me, 'What's going on here?' So I thought I might as well bring it out in a game. If a spinner is working to a plan to me, why can't I try to counteract it?"