June 22, 2008

English cricket

The switch hit debate rages on

Kevin Pietersen switches to a left hander to launch a huge six, England v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Chester-le-Street, June 15, 2008
 © Getty Images


Kevin Pietersen's audacious switch-hitting during the first ODI against New Zealand had set off a debate on whether it is legal, after which the MCC stated that he can continue to play the shot. To start off with, the Guardian's Vic Marks thinks the reason given by the MCC for allowing the shot is faulty.

I agree with their decision, though not their logic. While seeking to rid us of the notion that all lawmakers are batsmen they point out that bowlers 'do not provide a warning of the type of delivery that they will bowl (an off-cutter or a slower ball, for example)'. So, they argue, a batsman should have the opportunity of executing a switch hit.

This is not the correct parallel. The right one would be that batsmen do not warn bowlers which stroke they intend to use (the off drive or the slog over midwicket, for example). Logically, if the bowler has to indicate whether he is going to deliver the ball right or left-handed, the batsman should say whether he intends to hit it right or left-handed and stick to his word.

Ian Chappell says as much in his latest Cricinfo column, but he does not want the shot to be allowed.

It is unfair to ask the bowlers to nominate beforehand the way they are going to operate (over or round, left or right arm) and then allow batsmen to change their mode of striking after the ball is in play.

The Sunday Telegraph's Steve James has no issues with the switch hit, and asks "why now?" Click here to read the article.

Meanwhile, Zaahier Adams, in the Cape Times, has sought out the opinions of former South African cricketers regarding the issue.

Ashok Ganguly is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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