New cricket order June 17, 2008

Storm over a sweep?

Ask who invented the reverse-sweep and many cricketers will claim the honour

Ask who invented the reverse-sweep and many cricketers will claim the honour. Ask who plays it best and most cricket fans would surely point to Kevin Pietersen. Cricket is an odd sport in that there are the laws of cricket and then there is the spirit of cricket. What is outside the laws cannot be allowed but what is within the laws and outside the spirit of cricket causes anxiety.Cricket has so many intricacies that it is impossible to legislate for all of them.

The ideal situation, now that cricket is so long established, is that the laws are seldom changed and only occasionally tinkered with. In addition, the laws should not become a needless barrier to invention and innovation in cricket. Which leads us back to KP's reverse-sweeping and the vexed conversations among MCC's Panama hat brigade.

The reverse-sweep is an exciting shot. It introduces a large element of risk, which is an opportunity for the bowling side to take a wicket. If well-executed the results are sensational. But should something so exhilarating be allowed?

Any consideration of the laws of cricket should be to make them simpler not more complex. The debate over the reverse-sweep doesn't entirely lend itself to this philosophy but the rules can certainly remain clear and straightforward. My simple suggestion is this:

1 The reverse-sweep should be allowed. 2 A batsman should not be allowed to switch his stance until the ball is released. 3 The umpire should consider any leg-before wicket or wide verdict on the basis of the batsman's original stance.

Cricket is a sport in rapid transition but the fundamentals remain. The reverse-sweep can be traced back decades earlier. Javed Miandad, for example, claims he invented it in the 1980s. Why legislate now when cricketers are executing it to a thrilling and highly entertaining level? Cricket requires flair, charisma, and ingenuity, and I would be surprised if the men in Panama hats and egg and bacon ties at the MCC do not recognise that as well.

Viva la reverse-sweep!

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on May 9, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    A batsman should be given the freedom to do anythin he wants wit his bat after the ball is released..

  • testli5504537 on June 23, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Dear Azad, I never post comments that often, and am a die-hard Indian supporter( an Indian) but I cannot understand why you have to make comments about the Indian won the Kitply Cup...Congratulations. I guess our future will be displayed by itself irrespective of anyones' opinions.Good luck for the Asia cup!!!

  • testli5504537 on June 23, 2008, 7:39 GMT

    I grew up playing baseball in the United States and was an excellent switch hitter. I carried that ability over to cricket. However, I was expected to pick a side before each ball bowled. I would have to agree that a batsman should have to remain in the original stance until the ball is bowled. He would be a fool to try such a thing against a fast bowler, and the delay would give the slow spinner a fair chance. I am willing to bat against any bowler, fast or slow, from either side of the wicket, but I don't think I would dare to try and change mid-stream, but then, I'm no Pietersen, and certainly no Hanif. I agree, this is really an issue of crediting an Englishman with something a Paki perfected long ago.

  • testli5504537 on June 22, 2008, 23:23 GMT

    Kamran I think you are completely confused about this issue as switch hitting and reverse sweeping are two different things.During my time I have seen it all used in street games. Reverse sweeping, switch hitting, switching up arms while bowling. I guess they are all ok at that level but at the highest level some amount of propriety should be maintained. Some of the posters seem to think that reverse sweeping could be applied to genuine quick bowlers which is impossible. Only the medium pacers and spinners are the usual victims of this shot. I tend to agree with the poster who said that whatever the English does becomes right and that is due to the lack of creativity in these English players who when do something different becomes trumpetd all over the place regardless of how dated that might be.

  • testli5504537 on June 22, 2008, 22:23 GMT

    Mate, my comment is not abt reverse sweeping or switch-hitting as it its being called now. I actually wanted to email u but could not get ur email add. Anyway, just wondering R u Pakistani or what? Have u seen what Ashok Malik has written? Y u and Usman try not to counter it in 1 way or another. Please y u didnt make a big fuss and wrote something after explosion in Jaipur. Please remember u have a fiduciary duty toward ppl of Pakistan and u must counter the Indian/Western propaganda. By the way, I think u were on cricinfo well before any Indian. How comes today it has been swampped with Indians?? It almost looks like an Indian website. Please do reply if u cud. Have a gud day

  • testli5504537 on June 22, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    However interesting this wonderful shot was, quite frankly it does not have much to do with pakistani cricket. It amazes me how readily you write pieces or articles whenever pakistan cricket comes under any negative attention, but easily fail to mention a superb win in a series final. I'm sure if pakistan had got destroyed in the final again you would write something against the PCB/players/coach. Atleast a small mention or your thoughts about that win would do. As for this random racial issue, the amount of security/luxury given to foreigners in pakistan is probably better than any care they would get in their home country.

  • testli5504537 on June 21, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    When proving someone wrong, it is not enough to merely say "You're lying". Cold hard facts must be presented to disprove the lie, otherwise you are merely conjecturing.

    Hence, Mikso Mocha, pray do let us know, based on facts of course, who invented the reverse sweep, the reverse swing and the doosra.

    Go ahead, this is your chance to prove all of these Pakistanis worng.

  • testli5504537 on June 21, 2008, 4:45 GMT

    By the way, Levin Adams, come visit Pakistan, will you? Bombing is rare, just because 10 or 20 people out of millions do it doesn't make it as common as road accidents. You talk about a lack of education. How absurd! It's amazing how Westerners tend to see themselves as "educated" (the only education you have is in science, and even that's limited) and the rest of the world consequently as uneducated. The ancient Greeks thought the same way, and the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Romans and countless arrogant civilizations who considered themselves better than others. Fact of the matter is, Levin Adams, the rest of the world sees you for what you are: totally and utterly BRAINWASHED.

  • testli5504537 on June 21, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi, I do think the Pakistan win in the Kitply Cup deserves a mention, if only a fleeting one. As for the Jacob Oram issue--why are Pakistani and New Zealand fans arguing? New Zealand have visited Pakistan in recent years, remember the 2002 and 2003 series (both of which included Jacob Oram, so the fellow is NOT just another coward too scared to play in a country that has proven itself time and again.). By the way, Kiwi wonder, I like and respect New Zealand for a great country, but in no way is the quality of living better there than in Pakistan. Don't judge a nation by the actions of, what, 0.0003 percent of its population.

  • testli5504537 on June 20, 2008, 22:29 GMT

    To all the guys spewing venom like Azad Ahmad, Mikso Mocha,Vikral Kayakalp you language just shows out your cheap mentality and hate towards other humans.. Shame on you all.

    Normally I end my posts with "With Regards but you guys don't deserve any Regards.


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