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?"

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • santhosh on February 28, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    just curious, why can't it be assumed that a switch hit is JUST ANOTHER SHOT played by a batsman? forbidding a batsman from playing the shot is equivalent to asking the batsman to play the ball on its merit. if a bowler is bowling at the stumps all the time (like mcgrath does) does the batsman not give himself room to force it towards the cover region?

  • Syed on February 26, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    Switch hit should not be allowed for the simple reason that the bowler cannot change his guard from over to around the wicket at the time of delivery. We should not be considering a switch hit as a batsman's variation similar to a bowler variations like doosra or googly. If switch hit is allowed, then the bowler should be allowed to change guard at the last second as well. Also the LBW rules may need to be amended to identify which is the leg stump.

  • Jeff on February 26, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    I would like to see whether the MCC make this legal, but I think this should include the "reverse sweep" as well, the arguements cover both cases.

    And, if we go further, if the bowler wants to bowl wide on the crease, or as happens more in T20, from 2 yards behind the crease, he should have toadvise the batsman as well.

    As mentioned by adopt, we should also get the bowler to advise of bowling a googly or doosra or Bouncer!!

  • Nami on February 26, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    A batsman should be allowed to change his stance because cricket is a game of minds and the guys with best innovatives should win. So it's not unethical to bat right handed. But the batsman should notify the umpire first. So in Mr.Warner's 2nd request it should be allowed. Everyone can't play both handed so the talent should get the opportunity. If a right hander and a left hander is batting it is okay to set the field why can't it be okay when a batsman change his stance?? What cricket needs is new ideas like Dilscoop, switch hit, malinga's action, KP's switch hit, switch stance, doosra... etc.

  • Martin on February 26, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Switch hitting and changing stance should be legal. The bowler should be able to change the bowling arm and side of the wicket. The current rules are stupid.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2010, 23:05 GMT

    If switching is allowed then why does a batsman take his guard at the start of his innings? Why does the fielding team set a field based on his position at the crease? I think that if the batter is going to switch he should inform the fielding team and the umpire in the same way a bowler must inform the umpire whish side of the wicket he is going to bowl from and which hand he will use.

  • Gian on February 25, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    Warner says "If a spinner is working to a plan to me, why can't I try to counteract it?" . I agree that he should be able to, but if he decides to bat right handed he should advise the umpire. The umpire should then announce it to the bowler, the same way he does when he advises a change to the bowler's strategy, eg "Right arm around the wicket" I don't have any problem with retaining a conventional LH grip and reverse sweeping or pulling; this has been a part of the game for ages. The issue should only be when the grip is changed and he "converts" to the opposite hand.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2010, 21:44 GMT

    I agree with nazfak - as long as he announces it before hand, and preferably before the over, then it should be ok. Switching during an over will get disruptive, and in the middle of a delivery is definitely not ok. But not much time will be lost if the batsmen announces it before the fielders get set into their positions.

  • Andre on February 25, 2010, 21:17 GMT

    Changing the stance affects many aspects of the game: the field, LBW and wide rulings. While I'm not against the change, it does give the batsman another advantage over the bowler. I would suggest the batsman be forced to stick to the stance at the beginning of the innings. If he changes stance, be it before or during the run-up, the leg-side aspect of the LBW rule be voided.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Mr. Warner, what if the bowler wants to bowl with this right hand for the first over and then the next over he wants to bowl with left hand or even switching the hands while running, should we allow that too? If the batsman is taking a different stance then he should be batting on that stance all the time..otherwise, it is always unfair.


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