England v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Chester-le-Street June 16, 2008

Pietersen defends switch-hitting

Cricinfo staff
91


An ambidextrous Kevin Pietersen peppers the on-side boundary in a style known best only to him © Getty Images
 

After executing two breathtaking reverse-sweep sixes during his match-winning unbeaten 110 against New Zealand in the first one-dayer in Chester-le-Street, Kevin Pietersen has strongly rejected the notion that such innovative strokes should be outlawed in cricket.

Pietersen took on Scott Styris on both occasions, switching his grip to that of a left-hander and pre-meditating the stroke even before the ball was delivered. The first, in the 39th over, landed over deep backward point and the second, in the 43rd, was deposited over long-off. Though the reverse-sweep has been in existence for decades now, Pietersen has taken it to greater heights, after first unveiling the reverse-sweep six in 2006, off Muttiah Muralitharan in a Test at Edgbaston.

Pietersen's strokes were different from the conventional reverse-sweep because he changed his grip before the bowler delivered, effectively making him a left-handed batsman. Since a bowler isn't allowed to change his bowling hand without informing the umpire, some have suggested that the same should apply to the batsmen. Pietersen however disagreed and urged everyone to embrace innovation positively.

"That's ridiculous," Pietersen said after England's comprehensive 114-run win. "Absolutely stupid. The reverse-sweep has been part of the game for however long. I am just fortunate that I am able to hit it a bit further.

"Everybody wants brand new ideas, new inventions and new shots. That is a new shot played today and people should be saying it's a new way to go. There are new things happening for cricket at the moment and people shouldn't be criticising it all the time."

Pietersen said he had visualised the shot the previous night, and the fact that he did it twice had his non-striker, Paul Collingwood, gasping.

"I practise it, I visualise it, I go through routines in the nets," he said. "It is just an option. The boundary was miles out on the leg side so I thought the other boundary was the way forward. There was only one man out there and there are normally three out on the leg side.

"I covered my eyes as soon as he turned his body around," Collingwood said. "I was quite surprised and I went 'Oh no' but he smashed it. In fact he smashed it twice. He did actually come up the wicket and say 'I was thinking about that in bed last night,' so at least we know the visualisation was there."

The opposing captain, Daniel Vettori, however, suggested that bowlers should get some respite in such instances and be able to fire deliveries past the pads without it being called a wide. "To even it up, bowlers should be able to bowl down both sides of the wide line," Vettori said. "Then it brings your skill into play."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • raviben on June 20, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    There is something new in everything and very few try out these in any feild. KP is a master technician at this. Please right now he is one the top three entertainers in the game and he has that niche of pulling odd thing out. Like the reverse sweep six of MM or lions on his shoulder or that dyed hair. He is a marvelous guy and he is outstanding. This wasn't there in the book anyway and how many players have many a out of book shots. R'ber the scoop over wicket keeper. Guys think it this way , KP is ready to scarifice his wicket by playing this shot and he did manage to open many a mouths in awe. Cheers to KP, he is the IN GUY now in world cricket. He is an entertainer and let him entertain the cricket world. Hats off to KP and MCC for supporting this stroke in all thier authority.

    Love u KP & Cricinfo.

  • BenSN on June 18, 2008, 16:47 GMT

    This is good for entertainment but not for the fairness for the game. My simple question is: whether they are going to allow bowlers to switch arms during the run up? I guess that the answer is no, cause it is against the rules. If a bowler switches his hand, that will cause a trouble to the batsaman. No argument of that and the rule supports the fairness. The situation is the same for bowlers. Where is the fairness for bowlers? Are you valuing only batsmen? Are you going to bowl using the same lenght, width and the angle for right-handers and the left-handers. If someone says so would support the Pieterson's trial. If someone who is no so stupid should oppose the case.

  • kanaima on June 18, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    Why do batsmen always be treated differently to bowlers? If there is a rule mandating a bowler to state when he's changing his bowling arm, Then a simialr rule should be instituted for batsmen. Let both batsman and bowler be given equal regulations. I wonder if it was a smaller cricketing nation such as a Zimbabwe batsman doing the same thing to an English bowler in a very close game what the response would have been from MCC? Beware England, u have an uncanny ability to implement regulations that will return to haunt you.

  • vijit.khanna on June 18, 2008, 11:49 GMT

    I believe KP is right in his way to defend this shot which will in all probabilities enrich the game of cricket - a game which has become very very popular since the advent of the T20 and the recently all successful IPL tournaments. Vettori's asking respite for bowlers and demanding leniency by umpires in such switch grip shots is rightful as well.

  • Scoffy on June 18, 2008, 9:31 GMT

    The reason given for this shot not being outlawed was that it made the game more exciting. How long will it be allowed if the bowler stops in his delivery stride and the captain of the fielding team then resets his field for the left handed batsman (very slow cricket equls boring). I would also like to point out to the person who wrote this article and Kevin Pietersen that the shot was not a reverse sweep but if fact a full blooded left handed pull shot.

  • floz on June 18, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    Hi all... maybe this has already come up but i don't think it has... I don't actually think KP is the first player to try this switch hit shot. I seem to remember Darren Gough back in about 1994 switched leftie against Pakistan, on a rare occassion when he scored 50 odd in a test (bit hazy on detail)! I defo remember giving it a go the next day at school, missed and got a stern talking to from the cricket master!

  • sunrisesinwest on June 18, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    Pietersen says that "That is a new shot played today and people should be saying it's a new way to go." ha ha..apparently he hasn't seen videos of Kris Srikant executing the same shot in his day or Gavaskar talking about it in commentary years ago!!! He is a gifted batsman and can execute it , but to call it a new invention is taking it a tad to far ( in the language of cricinfo commentators)

  • realspirituals on June 18, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    I will go with Daniel Vettori. If you give equal preference to all then there would be a definite fight. But you cant do that. So at least we can stop the batsmen changing grips before the ball being bowled.

  • Kabir_ahlawat on June 18, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    No problem at all.....because whatever it is it makes cricket exciting....

    I am completely with KP on the issue...

  • Anwar.w on June 18, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    There is nothing wrong in the sweep shot, if the batsman using this reverse sweep once in a while, but if the batsman use the reverse sweep more often than something has to be done. One cannot take advantage of bowlers limitations. I am a right hand bowler and can deceive a batsman by bowling at the last moment with my left hand. Have to keep a close eye on this situation and act accordingly. Regarding the wide on the leg side has to be relaxed a little, it is very harsh on the bowler. When a batsman can reverse sweep than a little bit of relaxation is to be done on wide ball (leg side).

  • raviben on June 20, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    There is something new in everything and very few try out these in any feild. KP is a master technician at this. Please right now he is one the top three entertainers in the game and he has that niche of pulling odd thing out. Like the reverse sweep six of MM or lions on his shoulder or that dyed hair. He is a marvelous guy and he is outstanding. This wasn't there in the book anyway and how many players have many a out of book shots. R'ber the scoop over wicket keeper. Guys think it this way , KP is ready to scarifice his wicket by playing this shot and he did manage to open many a mouths in awe. Cheers to KP, he is the IN GUY now in world cricket. He is an entertainer and let him entertain the cricket world. Hats off to KP and MCC for supporting this stroke in all thier authority.

    Love u KP & Cricinfo.

  • BenSN on June 18, 2008, 16:47 GMT

    This is good for entertainment but not for the fairness for the game. My simple question is: whether they are going to allow bowlers to switch arms during the run up? I guess that the answer is no, cause it is against the rules. If a bowler switches his hand, that will cause a trouble to the batsaman. No argument of that and the rule supports the fairness. The situation is the same for bowlers. Where is the fairness for bowlers? Are you valuing only batsmen? Are you going to bowl using the same lenght, width and the angle for right-handers and the left-handers. If someone says so would support the Pieterson's trial. If someone who is no so stupid should oppose the case.

  • kanaima on June 18, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    Why do batsmen always be treated differently to bowlers? If there is a rule mandating a bowler to state when he's changing his bowling arm, Then a simialr rule should be instituted for batsmen. Let both batsman and bowler be given equal regulations. I wonder if it was a smaller cricketing nation such as a Zimbabwe batsman doing the same thing to an English bowler in a very close game what the response would have been from MCC? Beware England, u have an uncanny ability to implement regulations that will return to haunt you.

  • vijit.khanna on June 18, 2008, 11:49 GMT

    I believe KP is right in his way to defend this shot which will in all probabilities enrich the game of cricket - a game which has become very very popular since the advent of the T20 and the recently all successful IPL tournaments. Vettori's asking respite for bowlers and demanding leniency by umpires in such switch grip shots is rightful as well.

  • Scoffy on June 18, 2008, 9:31 GMT

    The reason given for this shot not being outlawed was that it made the game more exciting. How long will it be allowed if the bowler stops in his delivery stride and the captain of the fielding team then resets his field for the left handed batsman (very slow cricket equls boring). I would also like to point out to the person who wrote this article and Kevin Pietersen that the shot was not a reverse sweep but if fact a full blooded left handed pull shot.

  • floz on June 18, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    Hi all... maybe this has already come up but i don't think it has... I don't actually think KP is the first player to try this switch hit shot. I seem to remember Darren Gough back in about 1994 switched leftie against Pakistan, on a rare occassion when he scored 50 odd in a test (bit hazy on detail)! I defo remember giving it a go the next day at school, missed and got a stern talking to from the cricket master!

  • sunrisesinwest on June 18, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    Pietersen says that "That is a new shot played today and people should be saying it's a new way to go." ha ha..apparently he hasn't seen videos of Kris Srikant executing the same shot in his day or Gavaskar talking about it in commentary years ago!!! He is a gifted batsman and can execute it , but to call it a new invention is taking it a tad to far ( in the language of cricinfo commentators)

  • realspirituals on June 18, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    I will go with Daniel Vettori. If you give equal preference to all then there would be a definite fight. But you cant do that. So at least we can stop the batsmen changing grips before the ball being bowled.

  • Kabir_ahlawat on June 18, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    No problem at all.....because whatever it is it makes cricket exciting....

    I am completely with KP on the issue...

  • Anwar.w on June 18, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    There is nothing wrong in the sweep shot, if the batsman using this reverse sweep once in a while, but if the batsman use the reverse sweep more often than something has to be done. One cannot take advantage of bowlers limitations. I am a right hand bowler and can deceive a batsman by bowling at the last moment with my left hand. Have to keep a close eye on this situation and act accordingly. Regarding the wide on the leg side has to be relaxed a little, it is very harsh on the bowler. When a batsman can reverse sweep than a little bit of relaxation is to be done on wide ball (leg side).

  • prove_them_wrong on June 18, 2008, 5:49 GMT

    The reverse sweep has been around for years and there is nothing wrong with it as the batsmen does not change his stance or grip and still leads with the same front leg. The switch hit is of course different. But KP thinks he is so smart & thinking about it in bed last night. How about this photo I found on Cricinfo site from 1997 of one of the true masters of creativity in ODI batting - JONTY RHODES. Co-incidental that KP grew up in Kwazulu Natal where Jonty played all his cricket?? And as some of the other writers state, this shot is played regularly these days at several levels of the game.

    http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/image/196813.html

  • DHHC on June 18, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    Any complaints about Pietersen's innovations are just a little silly.

    I remember a chap who I occasionally played against in senior cricket. His stance was right-handed but his grip was left handed, i.e. he had his left hand at the bottom of the handle and the right above it. No one, quite rightly, complained about that. And this guy could hit the ball a mile.

  • MisterEvilBreakfast on June 18, 2008, 1:18 GMT

    A lot of people say that it should be an illegal shot because a bowler can't change his bowling arm in the middle of a delivery... Has anyone here ever tried to bowl with their non-preferred hand? It just doesn't work. I say good on KP, it's a ballsy shot that will come off sometimes and will cause his downfall on other occasions.

  • FBD1 on June 18, 2008, 1:09 GMT

    Bowlers should rejoice. More batsmen will get out playing this shot than scoring sixes off it!!!!!!!

  • Mcambo on June 17, 2008, 23:57 GMT

    I don't think that the reverse sweep or shot should be outlawed, however, I do believe that if a batsman faces a bowler as a right-hander, he should then have to play shots like a right-hander.

    Under the laws of cricket, a bowler must notify the umpire of his bowling action. (i.e. Right arm around, etc). If he does not deliver the ball as so advised, then he is no-balled. It should be the same for the batsmen. They should not be allowed to change stance once the ball becomes live, which is once the bowler commences his run-up.

    This shot of Pietersen is different to a reverse sweep as in a reverse sweep situation, the hands on the bat do not change.

  • godsofcricket on June 17, 2008, 22:44 GMT

    I agree with Daniel's comments. The odds are evened if the LBW & Wide rules are altered to even the odds here.

  • Unmesh_cric on June 17, 2008, 22:22 GMT

    I am a bit annoyed that it has been portrayed as if Pietersen has 'invented' this switch-hit shot. I have seen a couple of guys in club level cricket playing this switch-hit shot, almost as well as Pietersen did. I hope Pietersen won't be tagged as the 'inventer' of this shot.

  • Shasaab on June 17, 2008, 21:57 GMT

    I wonder why this shot should generate such a debate at all... Why changing the rules is always considered as a sin... Its simple, a batsman changes his stance after the bowler starts his run up, logic says the off stump of a right handed batsman should now be considered as his leg stump and vice versa...Everything settled... Wide, LBW will be judged according to his grip and stance, and also apply this rule to normal reverse sweep...Not only the grip but the change of stance should also matter... Even if there are no rules for this particular shot, I dont consider this type of hit unfair to bowlers, as good bowlers will always love a batsman to try to play such engineered shots against them... The probability of a batsman being able to hit the ball perfectly is far less than the bowler having a chance of taking a wicket...Do you people consider Styris as a world class bowler, i dont... He deserves to be hit like that... Bravo Kevin Pietersen....

  • Shasaab on June 17, 2008, 21:30 GMT

    Hats off to kevin and hats off to MCC.Watching Kevin playing this shot reminds me of my dear friend Faheem who first started playing this shot back in 1993.I am sure if Faheem would have been alive he would have definitely made it to the Pakistan cricket team, and after seein Javed Miandad playing the reverse sweep he introduced this strange shot at the district level.Coming from Chitral, the most backward district of Pakistan, Faheem who died at a very young age, first played this shot in a match where i was the captain and the umpire after the ball crossed the boundary, called it a dead ball. I rushed to the middle to argue with the umpire alongwith Faheem, eventually we forfeited the match for we didnt give up our stance, as we considered it as a genuine cricket shot. After that, this particular shot became the trade mark of Faheem, and we used to call it "Hoski riphi, Kholi dik" in the local language.Thanx Kevin for reminding me of Faheem who would be a proud man up in the heavens.

  • KrazyCric on June 17, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    Cricket had become batsman's game so doesn't matter MCC will support this. Exciting yes hook shot was exciting but limiting bowlers to one bouncer per over killed that shot.

  • green_jelly on June 17, 2008, 17:02 GMT

    While I don't think this shot must be banned, I think that we must interpret some rules differently in this context. For instance, what happens to the LBW decisions with the switch shot? If the ball pitches outside leg (of right hander) and hits in line, is he out? I think he should be out LBW irrespective of where the ball pitches (if it is hitting in line). Its like backing away too much makes a ball wide of leg stump legal (rightly so) - if the batsman tries to get an advantage by altering his stance during delivery, the bowler should not be unfairly disadvantaged as a result.

  • Calavai on June 17, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    Well, it is an innovation indeed and should be encouraged. But 4 laws of cricket should be changed to make it even for the competing bowler (a) bowlers can switch hand of delivery mid stride as well (b) a batsmen can be LBW irrespective of where the ball pitches as long as it hits the stumps (c) wide is the same both sides of the wicket (d) field restrictions are the same on both sides of the wicket

  • Prats6 on June 17, 2008, 14:16 GMT

    Thankfully, good senses prevailed and MCC did not do any tinkering and rightfully acknowledged the difficulty in the successful implementation of the stroke. Though I do feel that in this case a "wide" will have to be redefined and bowlers should be given enough leeway to assume both sides of a batsman as off sides.

  • The_Wog on June 17, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    Stephen1966, suggest you check with your association before disallowing a shot that was: a) explicitly provided for in the Laws and b) been passed by every international umpire since it was invented over 20 years ago.

    As for the rest of the thread, my nomination for "worst thread ever." An astronomical amount of confusion over what is a very simple Law (and one that has been in place for 7 years).

    There's the bloke who said that if an Asian player did it, it would be banned - weren't we told Javed Miandad invented it? And the best was the bloke who said "This is like the first tie test where Trevor Chappell: the bowler delivered a under arm ball in the last ball"! Hilarious stuff!

  • nibbana on June 17, 2008, 12:37 GMT

    pakistanicricketlover - This shot has been played all over the world for quite some time and the legality has been called in to question because of the way an englishman plays it, so it would seem that you are arguing against yourself a little ?

    I think that as the game evolves the rules should be facilitating this, I took the same stance when there was all the fuss about Murali's doosra action. Why when someone has mastered a ball/shot should we be pointing the finger at them, we should be praising players ingenuity it can only be an asset to the game.

    It will be complicated to change the rules to incorporate decisions on lbw and wide calls and if the isue is the field placings and that it gives a big advantage to the batsman then they could be limited to one Reverse every x overs. I don't think the way forward is to outlaw such and exciting, skillful and lets face it high-risk shot for the batsman.

  • Daniel_Smith on June 17, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    I don't think this type of entertaining improvisation should be outlawed. There should be rule changes to help the bowler; and people should bear in mind that if Pieterson had missed he would have looked very silly. I doubt a Brett Lee bouncer would be played in quite the same audacious style.

  • pr3m on June 17, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    I think that bowls bowled down the leg side for the right hander should be legal, in this scenario.

  • Umpire2946 on June 17, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    A bowler if he sees a batsman moving to the off to hit him to leg follows him generally, and also if the batsman moves to leg to hit on the off the bowler follows him. The bowler, if he wants to spoil the reverse sweep, don't follow or change, just stop and walk back, if the bowler does this often enough the umpire should be able to step in. In my opinion, as regards the LBW or not, the batsman should be given out if the ball would have hit the stumps if the batsman had remained in the position that he originally presented when coming to the crease, because the ball has not pitched outside the leg stump, and if all criteria is met for LBW decision if he hadn't reverse swept, then he is out. After all when an umpire assesses a wide he judges from the position that was normal to the batsman i.e. he cannot get a wide if he moves away from the ball to gain an advantage.

  • pakistanicricketlover on June 17, 2008, 9:44 GMT

    Just because he is English everyone think its fine but it isn't. If it was someone from the subcontinent it would be illegal and by now everyone would be disagreeing. If am not wrong the reverse swing masters Wasim and Waqar from Pakistan invented it and that time it was called ball tampering but when Simon Jones tries it and it works it called an art. I am failing to understand why the hell this is happening this is just purely double standards. The reverse sweep is fine but the switching of the hands should not be allowed as said in the top article what if the bowler switches hands before delivering a ball. A reverse sweep is like a doosra or googly but the switching is like ball tampering. This always happens everything comes legit when the English or Australian get involved. But if any team from the sub continent does something like this then it's either called ball tampering or illegal bowling action and then we have to go to clear ourselves.

  • zuhair1234 on June 17, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    I think whatever the shot Kevin has played, that was fantastic....congrats Kevin............I think their should be no issue on this....

  • sajjad_doctor on June 17, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    The shot played by kevin should be considered as legal. But certain decisions, like wide ball & LBW, are based on with respect to normal stance of the batsman. Now if the batsman chooses to alter/change his stance without prior notice to the umpire during the course of a delivery and bowler cleverly and skillfully bowls at his legs or out side the new off stump, he still is at disadvantage and umpire in confusion, regarding wide out side the new leg stump or LBW from out side the new off stump. I think to nullify this the rule should be made to consider both the outer stumps as off stumps simultaneously as soon as batsman changes his stance and the decisions for wide & LBW shall be given accordingly i.e. wide on either side as wide out side the off stump & LBW when the ball is going to hit the wicket from outside the either side of the wicket.

  • Jagannadh on June 17, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    This is not a new invention. Kris Srikath has already done this in 1987 world cup against Kiwis. India eventually won the match and entered semi-finals.

  • Muthu_Team on June 17, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    I think its all fine... Instead of abandoning the change in grips, ICC should relax the wide rule because with the change in grip pietersen has effectively become a LH batsmen. If the ball thuds the pad and if its a legal LBW shout for a LH batsmen then the decision should go in favor of the bowler.. In that way the bowler also has a chance...

  • DravidTheMonk on June 17, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    Just like the reverse swing,googly,doosra,slower,bouncer, I think this is a batsman's surprise elemant - 'switch hitting'.. And nothing prevented Scot Styris from pulling back, atleast the surprise would have been annuled.

    My two cents... the shot is legal, its a fantastic innovation from KP, maybe if the batsman misses, then both his sides should be considered 'off side'.

    Deft reverse sweeps were the trades of Javed Miandad & Graham Gooch, by the time Andy Flower, Craig Mcmillan & co got into the act they 'reverse slapping', switch hitting is only a logical progression, and the shot carries a very high risk percentage.

  • Pushpak on June 17, 2008, 6:44 GMT

    its innovative and it should be kept as a legal shot but wide lines should be redefined in such cases to give bowler the flexibility of bowling the line he wants .

  • Pinkmorewood on June 17, 2008, 6:31 GMT

    The problem here is he changed his stance before the ball was bowled. It is a brave shot but my issue with this is fairness. A bowler has to inform the umpire that he is changing from over to around before he bowls. Now, if a batsman wants to change from right handed to left handed, he should inform the umpire. Otherwise he must change stance mid-delivery.

  • JL16 on June 17, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    I think an important point has been missed by many commentators. Everyone has mentioned bowlers have to inform the umpire that they are changing sides and if they wish to bowl with the other hand. But one of the best skills a good bowler has is variation. A bowler doesn't have to tell the batsman he is going to bowl the slower ball, the wrong 'un etc...

    KP changed his stance whilst Styris was still in his run up, a better bowler would have noticed and bowled something else like a yorker. This happens all the time bowlers notice the batsmen is advancing or standing more to a particular side and try to make the ball harder to play. Instead why isn't the focus on Styris' rubbish bowling to allow KP to play the shot. I doubt KP will attempt to play it against a front line bowler.

  • dhiraj113 on June 17, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    For all those people questioning the legality of the shot played, the shot is indeed legal as per the rules of cricket as of now.Thus, pieterson walks away clean as far as the spirit of the game is concerned.But, its more than apparent that this give undue advantage to the batsmen.But does this give undue advantage to every batsman? Well, the answer is no. It gives advantage to only those batsmen who have the skill to play with both hands. So a more skilled batsman is benefited, which is only fair. If you think switching hands and batting is not a big thing, then try doing it yourself(I am not asking you to hit a six, just try to defend the ball--I bet you will be scared) and you will see the difficulty. I would like to mention here that I myself had done this in some inconsequential gully cricket matches. Its very effective as it makes a mockery of the fielding positions and virtually give you a free field.Imagine what would happen if the batsman drives, cuts etc even after switching??

  • solomonlaw on June 17, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Congratulations to Kevin for having the skill level to play such a shot. However just because something can be done doesn't mean that it should. When New Zealand played Aussie in that infamous match the underarm delivery was not illegal but it obviously gave an unfair advantage to one team. I must say that this shot did not affect the outcome of this game but has the ability to do so in games in the future. Cricket is about a contest between bat and ball and the law does not offer any protection for the bowler, in terms of LBW and wides, when the batsmen decides to change his stance at the last minute. let Kevin keep his shot but surely he must notify the umpire and bowler of his decision first so that the contest remains a sporting one.

  • peeeeet on June 17, 2008, 1:11 GMT

    The most riduculous thing to come out of all this is people saying that it is a reverse sweep. It isn't a reverse sweep. It's a left handed sweep shot. I love seeing the reverse sweep being played, but only when its played properly. KP by coming out saying that people have done it for ages and he hits it further, well he obviously doesn't know what a reverse sweep is because he sure as hell isn't playing a reverse sweep.

  • TheTuna on June 16, 2008, 23:46 GMT

    All that crap about the shot being illegal due to the field being placed in a particular way is just that. Crap. Just because the captain thinks the batsman is going to play his shots in a particular area, should the batsman actually listen to him? Do the captain a favour by increasing his chances of getting caught? What Pietersen did was outsmart the field placement by executing a very risky shot perfectly, in an area with less fielders. Shouldn't such intelligence and skill be encouraged? If people say that the bowler was unfairly surprised because of the switch, then shouldn't the reverse swing and the doosra be banned as well? Don't both of them involve bowling the ball in such a way that the batsman is surprised? The only rule that should be brought in is that any wide that may occur will be annuled. I think that is fair enough. This might even encourage an innovative bowler to come up with a 'special' ball using his non-domniant hand.

  • mcheckley on June 16, 2008, 23:45 GMT

    Ok to play the shot, but all sorts of domino issues arise regarding fielding restrictions behind square on the leg side, a leg side wide in a one-day game, and the ball pitching outside the leg stump not being eligible for lbw. To make any sense of the situation the laws have to adapt as follows. 1. A batsman must state if he intends to address the bowling right-or left-handed. 2. If, in the opinion of the umpire, he changes that mode of address in the course of a delivery, then he loses the benefit of all laws which might advantage him viz; lbw, he can be givenm out wherever the ball pitches, all leg-side fielding restrictions go into suspense, and the judgement of a wide is made, for that ball, as if BOTH sides of the wicket were the off side. The innovation is fine, but if the laws do not adapt to take it into account, un-umpirable situations will arise as the practice becomes more widespread, as it surely will, particularly in 20/20.

  • bvcric on June 16, 2008, 21:45 GMT

    wow... remove all rules and let innovation pave way... if its a game it needs to have rules and should be even to both batsman and bowler... Off-late the whole game of cricket is becoming a batsman's game with very little offered to bowlers... Boy just like you have wrong foot bowlers(Sohil Tanvir) ... here you go a wrong foot.. oops handed batsmen... innovations are most welcome anywhere with in the fair frame of rules not affecting the balance of the game.

    This is like the first tie test where Trevor Chappell: the bowler delivered a under arm ball in the last ball of the day to tie the test. Trevor Chappell rolled the final ball along the ground to avoid the possibility of it being hit for the six runs that New Zealand needed to tie the match.

  • amdtelrunya on June 16, 2008, 21:00 GMT

    The key thing that has to be remembered here is that the shots weren't reverse sweeps, they were the shots of a left handed batsman, which brings all sorts of changes into play like LBWs, field settings and wides, regardless of whether he should have to notify the umpire if he is batting left handed. Which all makes it incredibly confusing for an umpire. Pietersen maybe skilled enough to do it, but that doesn't hide the fact its from a left handed batsman. Its not as if we need more rules in favour of the batsman. And Pietersen was hardly the first player to reverse sweep sixes, players like Craig McMillan and especially Andy Flower were doing it long before and there must have been others before that.

  • MileStone_PK on June 16, 2008, 19:36 GMT

    The reverse sweep shot was invented by Legendary Cricketer Javed Miandad, and I agree thatthe batsman should not be allowed to change the grip on the bat. If we Allow the batsman to change his grip than the bowler should be allowed to change his arm and aslo the bowler should be allowed to bowl over or around the wicket without prior notification and Wides should be given by keeping in mind that batsman can play either Left Handed or Right handed. Aloowing this stroke will make lot of laws to be changed. So i think, that this shot should not be allowed, as batsman already have a lot of upper hand with the kind of rules we have in One Days and T20s.

  • r1m2 on June 16, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    I think it's okay what KP did. However, it should also be allowed for the bowler to take some combative measures to be able to tackle it. Either change their bowling arm, or bowl under-arm, or something similar to what Vettory suggested. I love innovations and no difference in cricket. I am however, uncomfortable with innovations that provides unfair advantage to one side. So, I hope KP's style of stroke-making is NOT disallowed, and at the same time, bowlers are allowed to take innovative measures of their own against such innovations.

  • Hewa on June 16, 2008, 18:50 GMT

    KP thinks he has invented the reverse six shot. I have seen this shot being played umpteen times by young cricketers (at practice sessions and college level matches) in Sri Lanka. He may have seen this shot being played, when he last toured there, by very young kids - this is by no means an invention.

  • Andy_Wright on June 16, 2008, 18:08 GMT

    I think the notion of these shots being outlawed is ridiculous. Kevin Pietersen is an outstandingly skilled batsman with a fantastic array of orthodox and unorthodox strokes, and I don't see why he should be put at a disadvantage through banning certain shots.

    It's fairly obvious to the umpire when a batsman changes his grip during the bowler's run-up, so I think the bowlers should be allowed to bowl down legside without it being called wide. But LBW should still be as for a "normal" stance for that batsman: that way the bowler can be rewarded for adjusting quickly while still allowing the batsman to attempt an outrageous but potentially rewarding stroke. This can only be good for both disciplines of the game.

    I accept something needs to be done these days to even the balance between bat and ball, but the cricketing institutions need to look at bats and boundary lengths, not hamstring the talent of the world's best batsmen who have the ability to play shots like KP's switch-hits.

  • mafiasam on June 16, 2008, 17:37 GMT

    wow, i din't see the match and din't know KP did something like that till i read this article. I always used to wonder what happens if a batsman is capable of playin both left-handed and right-handed. i don't agree with people who say that his shot is illegal. but I would definitely agree with vettori and others who say the bowlers should also be given a leverage. like, they dont have to inform the umpire about which side they are going to bowl from. and also allow the bowler to have the benefit of lbw when the ball has pitched outside leg, only when the batsman is playing from his un-natural side. i think it would be great for the game's innovation.

  • UnwedUnfed on June 16, 2008, 17:22 GMT

    I don't think most people are questioning the shot itself. He basically played as a left-hander, so it wasn't really a "reverse" sweep - where the grip is still right-handed. The only question in my mind is that in these cases the umpire should, logically, decide wides/lbws based on a lefty batsman. However, if a batsman switches mid-delivery, like KP did, it gets very confusing for the umpire - and therefore I think the batsman should just lose all leg side protection - the umpire should treat him as a righty AND a lefty.

  • Icyman on June 16, 2008, 16:59 GMT

    Why shouldnt he be allowed to ? After all only a skillful batsman can hit sixes off reverse sweeps. The MCC would be mad to utlaw the shot.If they are to outlaw the shot,they would also need to outlaw T20.Its preposterous.

  • MadMonk on June 16, 2008, 16:56 GMT

    I agree with Vettori. The bowlers should be allowed to bowl both sides of the wicket in this instance. In essence the batsman is either trying to take advantage and surprise the bowler who has been bowling a steady line. He should be allowed to counter this with leniency in the wide rule.

  • topeleven on June 16, 2008, 16:49 GMT

    I don't understand why such an excellent shot like this by KP is made an issue.He is at is own risk of losing his wicket. When a deadly bouncer which can even injure batsmen to death is allowed as per the rules why such a shot which is very difficult to play and enjoyable to watch should not be allowed. One thing that should be taken into account is that the bowler should be given some concession about the line he bowls. Otherwise nothing wrong about the shots.

  • sick-hitting-six-hitters on June 16, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    agreed it is an incredible shot and there is no way that innovation should be penalised, it keeps the game fresh and makes it more exiting, however i am also of the view that bowlers are becoming more and more disadvantaged particularly in the limited overs forms of the game. With bats getting lighter and more powerful and shots like this coming into the game it is important some balance is restored for bowlers. Perhaps when a batsmen walks across his stumps the wide laws should change, mabe lbws should become more leniant when 'reverse' shots are played and mabe the bowler should be able to come over or around the wicket without having to alert the umpire and batsmen.

  • ShaanAgha1 on June 16, 2008, 16:13 GMT

    All said and done, you do not expect such "lame" comments from a person like Vettori. What can be argued though is that the bowler should be allowed to bowl with either of his hands without prior notice. This would increase the skill levels of both bat and ball.

  • TheLord on June 16, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    KP doesn't know the meaning of innovation. It's cheating. Why do captains set fielding differently for left and right handed batsmen? What if the bowler bowls over the wicket instead of round? Would that be OK? How to decide a wide or LBW? If you can't play fair and square, just shut up and don't call it innovation...

  • kpmanicka on June 16, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    I believe K. Srikkanth had played this long back against Abdul Qadir or some other pakistani spinner

  • dmdkrob on June 16, 2008, 15:40 GMT

    A ball pitching outside leg stump disallows lbw for a reason. There would be too many wickets taken otherwise. If the lbw rule applied when the batsman takes guard at the start of the bowlers run up, if he switches he runs the risk of an lbw from a ball pitching outside "leg" stump. Pietersen may be good enough but how many others are?

  • jzm8sg on June 16, 2008, 15:39 GMT

    The batsman has chosen his side by indicating his INITAL stance. The bowler has the sightscreen positioned to indicate what arm he will be bowling with. If the batsman changes his stance, the bowler should still be able to bowl to the ORIGINAL off-side without penalty. The bowler should also, if he so chooses, be able to bowl to the ORIGINAL leg-side (the NEW off-side) without incurring a penalty.

    Therefore, if the batsman decides to change stance the bowler has no liability. We must not forget, that the bowler also has the option to pull out at any time in the runup and restart, if he decides that he will be unfairly disadvantaged due to the batsman's actions.

  • Heavyroller on June 16, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    We are all taught to watch the bowlers hand to see which way the ball will turn then surely the bowler should look at the batsmans hands to see which grip he has selected.

  • Alex_Edwin on June 16, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    This argument is ridiculous and childish. If a batsman is able to do it, just appreciate that. Do not punish him.

    By that logic, isn't a batsman walking down the pitch to hit a stroke considered unfair, whereas if the bowler does it while bowling, it is a no-ball. Just like the chance of him getting stumped out is very high, so is the risk involved while playing this reverse sweep. Just laud the efforts of Pietersen and not ridicule him. Losers always complain......

  • h_kap on June 16, 2008, 15:09 GMT

    Man... if reverse sweeps are not allowed then i would say slow deliveries by fast bowler and a fast one from slow bowler should not be allowed. I am not a big fan of Kevin but questioning his reverse sweep six is ridiculous.

  • Gareth_Griffis on June 16, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    To Duckadder: Vettori didn't claim that the shot should be disallowed. When KP is batting righthanded, the right side of the stumps is wide. If he switches grip, then the bowler HAS to bowl directly where he wants it - at the stumps or to the left of the stumps.. If he switches stances/grips the wide rules should be removed (within reason). I didn't see the match interviews, but from everything I have read about it, I haven't heard NZ "bleeting" about how unlawful it is. Just that the bowlers should also be considered.

  • AlexC on June 16, 2008, 14:31 GMT

    I recall John Buchanan being laughed at a few years ago when he spoke of training his players to bat both left and right handed - seems he had a point after all.

  • UnwedUnfed on June 16, 2008, 14:29 GMT

    I have no problems with a batsman switch-hitting per se. However, as others have pointed out, some changes need to be made to the rules regarding wides and LBW before this becomes widespread. Specifically, umpires will need clarity on which stump they should consider the "leg" stump when a batsman changes his grip. In my opinion, for a switch-hitter there should be no leg stump, i.e. the bowler can use the full width of the crease to bowl at, and can get an LBW wherever the ball pitches as long as the umpire considers it would hit the stumps. Also, about "switch-bowlers" - why not? If a bowler can actually bowl effectively with both hands, he should absolutely be allowed to do so. It is an extremely difficult skill to master, so if someone chooses to do so more power to them I say.

  • malcolmnashisagreatbowler on June 16, 2008, 14:28 GMT

    I can see all sorts of club players trying this at the weekend and getting horribly embarased when it goes wrong. If youve got the talent use it. Bowlers cannot switch as sight screens would have to be moved etc

  • Alopener on June 16, 2008, 14:27 GMT

    Very entertaining to watch, I have seen it before at schoolboy level with 4s being hit but not a 6. However how does the umpire decide on legside wides......which leg side. What about LBW - which stump is the leg stump for pitching outside leg stump? Is it the stance before the bowler commences his run p of before he actually delivers the ball? If the batsman can bat either side then get rid of the fielding restrictions, and let them swap hands too. It is not practical for them to swap from over the wicket to round the wicket at the last moment due to the non-striker being in the way.

  • wewillhaveabat on June 16, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    KP might be an innovative player and fun to watch, but he is hardly an authority on the game. The shots he played are illegal and not in the spirit of the game. Now, before i invoke a torrent of criticism, let me say that the reverse sweep per se is not the issue here, but the way it is executed. I used to enjoy watching Andy Flower play it at will against McGrath for example - he was probably the first and probably still the best exponent of the shot - but he, at all times, played the shot with his original grip on the bat. The batsman is not and should never be allowed to switch grips, this is not in the spirit of the game. As it has been quite rightly pointed out, a bowler doesn't run in and decide to use the other arm! And believe me, there are a few that could - I for one have the skill...it is a fun party trick to use both arms in an over, but when doing so, I still must inform both the umpire and batsman of my intentions....trust this helps the discussion.

  • JMike on June 16, 2008, 13:32 GMT

    Speaking as a naive Yank with a big mouth and too much willingness to compare cricket to baseball, I've been wondering for a while when switch-hitting was going to come up in top-level cricket.

    To me, for whatever it's worth, it seems to make the most sense to say that a batsman must either nominate his side at the beginning of an over, in which case perhaps he is allowed one reverse-sweep in the over without penalty, or he declares that he is 'sideless' for the over, in which case he can jump around at will but loses his Bodyline protection and he can be out LBW to any ball.

  • Worldchamps on June 16, 2008, 13:32 GMT

    I dont have a problem with pietersens change in grip, I think its very good for the game and makes it exciting. But I also agree with vettori, from a bowlers perspective you should know if the batsmen is right or left handed. How can a bowler aim his delivery if he doesnt know which is a wide and which isnt? A good idea is for the umpires to treat the batsmen as left handed when he is reversing, so the rules for wide and lbw would all be reversed. More headache and confusion for the umpires!!!!

  • John-Price on June 16, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    Any batsman doing what KP did, hurriedly changing stance, grip and focus without even one second to set himself, is taking a massive risk; any decent bowler ought to encourage this as it gives them a vastly enhanced chance of taking a wicket. If the batsman gets away it, he deserves all the runs that come his way. The question of bowlers changing form right to left-handed is a complete red herring - where is there an example of a bowler who is able to do this without being hit out of the ground?

  • kantipur on June 16, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    If i were a bowller then i won't complain. I believe it gives me a better oppertunity to get a batsman out when a batsman change his stance as well as grip because it will take away split of second from the batsman.

  • wizzo on June 16, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    Fantastic shots by KP. An absolute joy to watch. I hope the authorities do not become short-sighted and prohibit further incidents. A thought I have is what about bowlers who have been changing deliveries for years? A fast bowler doesn't tell the batter that he's just about to send down his slow off-cutter does he? Therefore why should a batter indicate what shot he's going to play and how. Ask Scott Styris what he thinks being the one on the receiveing end.

  • Howard Moon on June 16, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    A batsman doesn't have to tell the umpire or bowler whether he's batting right- or left-handed at the start of the innings. So why he have to do it halfway through his innings?

  • Stephen1966 on June 16, 2008, 12:30 GMT

    LAW 42.2 - "Fair and unfair play - responsibility of umpires The umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play. If either umpire considers an action, not covered by the Laws, to be unfair, he shall intervene without appeal and, if the ball is in play, shall call and signal Dead ball......"

    I am a qualified umpire at a reasonably high level of club cricket in Australia. If any player tried that switch shot in my game i would without hesitation apply law 42.2

  • BlueEagle on June 16, 2008, 12:29 GMT

    My understanding is that, at the moment what Pietersen did was perfectly fine and an example of an entertaining player innovating to score for his team. I have to say I am a little uncomfortable with it, I figure if the bowler isn't allowed to change hands without telling anyone then nor should the batsman

    Of course, if this practice IS deemed legal, then the big debate is whether off stump continues to be off stump or whether it becomes, in effect, leg stump, which a lot of people would say "of course it doesn't, if he switches round and gets hit on the pad he should be out", but it becomes a whole different kettle of fish when, say, a leg spinner bowling round the wicket hits a right handed batsman on the pad after he's changed stance, in a situation where a left handed batsman would be given out.

    It's a big devate for the MCC to sort out, and you can kind of see the justification for all decisions

  • ashwin_547 on June 16, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    That was quite outstanding! It should be completely legal! I don't see the issue with it. Go on KP! Power your way through Cricket!

  • duckadder on June 16, 2008, 12:05 GMT

    I am sure that if KP had been out the first time he tried this shot, NZ would not have been bleeting about how unlawful it is. The fact is, it is a hugely risky shot and NZ should welcome the chance to get him out. If McCullum had executed a similar shot, would Vettori be so quick to disallow it? I can't escape the feeling that those objecting are so doing because they are suffering. As with football (the sinful game), one rarely hears the winning manager moaning about the referee...

  • khmayecha on June 16, 2008, 11:56 GMT

    Its a good innovation but when the batsman changes his stance for a reverse sweep of KP's sweep - the bowler should be allowed the off side width on both sides of the wicket (off side and on side). Then only the class of the batsman will be evident. On a normal right hander stance, if the batsman has changes his stance for a reverse sweep he should be allowed to bowl outsidde the leg stump upto the width an umpire would normally allow a left hander on that side of the wicket. If a batsman goes for a reverse sweep and the misses outside the leg stump - it should not be called a wide. The bowler must also command some advantage.

  • JAMMYD on June 16, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    I think what pietersen did yesterday makes the game more exciting. There is nothing wrong with changing of hand grips in order to play a shot and as this was done just before the bowler completed his delivery stride it makes it no different to a conventional reverse sweep shot. People should be praising the improvisation to make sure a shot works. I agree with uknsaunders that the bowler should have also improvised by changing his intended delivery to adjust to the batsman's movements. Lets hope that we see more of this in the future as it can only be good for the game!

  • JackJ on June 16, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    I have to acknowledge that I'm nonplussed by some of the comments. It seems some have a gut aversion to players innovating, albeit within the laws. If KP's reverse approach had become commonplace, there would be an argument to look at rule changes. Then, the bowler would need to be considered. However, this is not the case. Even ordinary reverse sweeps are pretty uncommon and KP's style is unique. In case anybody is unaware, playing such shots successfully is extraordinarily difficult! I say, lets give credit where its due, instead of carping! As for boundary locations, thats a different issue and is the same for both sides. The comment sounds a bit like a subtle dig at KP? Well, I'm from SA, and a huge fan of Kevin's! England is very fortunate to have one of our very best, he makes a big difference to the England side.

  • The_Wog on June 16, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    Law 36.3 already settled those questions - please don't suggest that slips cordons become illegal when the batsman switches hands. The MCC considered the reverse sweep, and concluded that both batsman and bowler need to nominate handedness before the ball comes into play and from that point the position of fielders, location of leg stump for LBWs and treatment of wides is determined. Then the batsman is free to play any kind of stroke. (No doubt they considered allowing the bowler to change hands, if not side of wicket, but the need to position sight screens in advance makes this a safety issue.)

    Also well done to Cricinfo for correctly reporting that since Pietersen changes hands, he is in fact playing a left-handed sweep rather than a right-handed reverse sweep.

  • CJC1 on June 16, 2008, 10:56 GMT

    This should definitely be illegal.

    In fact I thought it was. During a few age group games played a number of years ago now. I was told in no uncertain terms I was not allowed to change hands once the bowler had started his run-up. I was also able to bowl both hands (although not that well left, and well not that well right handed to be honest), and could change hands just prior to delivery. But after doing this once in a game, a no ball was called, and I was told I must nominate a hand and side of the wicket, prior to starting my run-up.

    So if in fact, as it appears, there is no rule stipulating you can't change hands batting, why is any different to bowling? Bowling is really hard enough without more lop-sided rules.

  • Ed_Lamb on June 16, 2008, 10:54 GMT

    Why when someone does something exceptional and different do we try to outlaw it? What amazing skill - to pull it off twice was incredible! Buchanan used to talk up ambidextrous throwing from fielders as being the future - ambidextrous batting could also be considered in future. This is an innovation that takes the game forward - let's not kill it.

  • david_franklin on June 16, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Pietersen's right - any move to outlaw shots like his would be ridiculous. Cricket has evolved throughout the ages through such invention of shots and it's all part of the art of batting. To outlaw a particular shot would be to go against all of the fundamental principles of cricket. Another point - surely the bowlers can fire the ball down past the pads without it being called wide, since the law says the handedness of the batsman is determined at the start of the bowler's run-up? This also means a batsman playing such a shot can be given out LBW when the ball pitches outside what is his new leg-stump.

  • risingup on June 16, 2008, 10:48 GMT

    There is already latitude in the laws to allow umpires to change what width is a wide depending on the batsman's movement. The law states that a ball that cannot be reached either in the batsman's normal stance or in his stance at the moment the ball passes him should be called a wide. If the batsman changes his stance to make it easier to hit the ball, it should not be called a wide just because it is beyond some marks -- whose only function, according to the ICC's playing conditions, is to act as a guide for the umpire.

    There's no need to change the law, but umpires should feel free to follow the laws, rather than a popular understanding of them.

  • Hoggy27 on June 16, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    My brother and myself play crazy shots (though nowhere near as good) all the time. When bowling and we see each other trying this we bowl it faster or aim right of the base of middle. Its just like changing a delivery to counter a batman charging. It's more of a challenge!!!

  • pull2open on June 16, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    I don't see any issue with this either. Lovely to watch, a great innovation and it keeps the game exciting. And, more to the point, chancy! Pietersen could easily have got himself out doing this, so it wasn't as if NZ weren't being given a chance. On the relevant Laws, the leg-side and off-side are defined by the stance the striker is taking as the bowler begins his run-up, or his delivery action if he has no run-up. So Pietersen can switch all he likes, but if the ball pitches outside his 'new' leg-stump and he misses, he is still very vulnerable to being out LBW. As a qualified umpire, even when a ball passes by his 'true' leg stump, ie. his 'new' off stump, I would not call Wide if a striker switches. He has clearly brought such a ball into play, and this still carries weight even in ODI regulations. So there is no need to regulate for this eventuality: appropriate administration of existing legislation will cover all this. All power to Pietersen and whoever else can do this!

  • Kanchb on June 16, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Av79, you are correct - in certain playing conditions, not informing the umpire of the arm, and the side of the wicket one bowls on is a no ball. I also feel that this should be made illegal (the switching of hands), as it then turns, theoretically, the two standard&slips and the gully - illegal, if they were positioned, as there would be more than two players behind the now leg side of the now left hand batsman. Either allow as many players behind the leg of the batsman (body line anyone?) or make the switching of hands illegal.

  • Av79 on June 16, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    It's another example of how the game is intrinsically biased towards the batsmen - not to mention the conscious decisions made by the authorities that favor batting.

    If a right-arm bowler, bowling over the wicket, were to veer off at his approach to the crease and bowl from around - or even left-handed - I'm sure there'd be a more dim view taken. In fact, without knowing the exact applicable laws, I'm sure it would be illegal. Why then may a batsman make such a radical adjustment?

    At the end of the day, however, the more pressing concern in the modern pro-batsman age is giving the bowlers at least some encouragement by pushing the ropes back. In the 1st ODI the boundaries were absurdly short - or rather typically absurdly short - and with a proper playing area Pietersen would have been comfortably caught off his second reverse sweep anyway.

  • uknsaunders on June 16, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    I don't see a problem with it. Watching the highlights last night, he clearly makes the movement in the final delivery stride, much the same as charging the bowler or moving outside off. As vettori says, the wide law should be relaxed a little when someone does this as the batter can effectively reach balls outside leg more easily. It also doesn't disguise the fact that 95% of batsman playing ODI cricket won't be able to do what pietersen did and that styris should have bounced or yorked him and used a bit of guile!

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  • uknsaunders on June 16, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    I don't see a problem with it. Watching the highlights last night, he clearly makes the movement in the final delivery stride, much the same as charging the bowler or moving outside off. As vettori says, the wide law should be relaxed a little when someone does this as the batter can effectively reach balls outside leg more easily. It also doesn't disguise the fact that 95% of batsman playing ODI cricket won't be able to do what pietersen did and that styris should have bounced or yorked him and used a bit of guile!

  • Av79 on June 16, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    It's another example of how the game is intrinsically biased towards the batsmen - not to mention the conscious decisions made by the authorities that favor batting.

    If a right-arm bowler, bowling over the wicket, were to veer off at his approach to the crease and bowl from around - or even left-handed - I'm sure there'd be a more dim view taken. In fact, without knowing the exact applicable laws, I'm sure it would be illegal. Why then may a batsman make such a radical adjustment?

    At the end of the day, however, the more pressing concern in the modern pro-batsman age is giving the bowlers at least some encouragement by pushing the ropes back. In the 1st ODI the boundaries were absurdly short - or rather typically absurdly short - and with a proper playing area Pietersen would have been comfortably caught off his second reverse sweep anyway.

  • Kanchb on June 16, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Av79, you are correct - in certain playing conditions, not informing the umpire of the arm, and the side of the wicket one bowls on is a no ball. I also feel that this should be made illegal (the switching of hands), as it then turns, theoretically, the two standard&slips and the gully - illegal, if they were positioned, as there would be more than two players behind the now leg side of the now left hand batsman. Either allow as many players behind the leg of the batsman (body line anyone?) or make the switching of hands illegal.

  • pull2open on June 16, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    I don't see any issue with this either. Lovely to watch, a great innovation and it keeps the game exciting. And, more to the point, chancy! Pietersen could easily have got himself out doing this, so it wasn't as if NZ weren't being given a chance. On the relevant Laws, the leg-side and off-side are defined by the stance the striker is taking as the bowler begins his run-up, or his delivery action if he has no run-up. So Pietersen can switch all he likes, but if the ball pitches outside his 'new' leg-stump and he misses, he is still very vulnerable to being out LBW. As a qualified umpire, even when a ball passes by his 'true' leg stump, ie. his 'new' off stump, I would not call Wide if a striker switches. He has clearly brought such a ball into play, and this still carries weight even in ODI regulations. So there is no need to regulate for this eventuality: appropriate administration of existing legislation will cover all this. All power to Pietersen and whoever else can do this!

  • Hoggy27 on June 16, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    My brother and myself play crazy shots (though nowhere near as good) all the time. When bowling and we see each other trying this we bowl it faster or aim right of the base of middle. Its just like changing a delivery to counter a batman charging. It's more of a challenge!!!

  • risingup on June 16, 2008, 10:48 GMT

    There is already latitude in the laws to allow umpires to change what width is a wide depending on the batsman's movement. The law states that a ball that cannot be reached either in the batsman's normal stance or in his stance at the moment the ball passes him should be called a wide. If the batsman changes his stance to make it easier to hit the ball, it should not be called a wide just because it is beyond some marks -- whose only function, according to the ICC's playing conditions, is to act as a guide for the umpire.

    There's no need to change the law, but umpires should feel free to follow the laws, rather than a popular understanding of them.

  • david_franklin on June 16, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Pietersen's right - any move to outlaw shots like his would be ridiculous. Cricket has evolved throughout the ages through such invention of shots and it's all part of the art of batting. To outlaw a particular shot would be to go against all of the fundamental principles of cricket. Another point - surely the bowlers can fire the ball down past the pads without it being called wide, since the law says the handedness of the batsman is determined at the start of the bowler's run-up? This also means a batsman playing such a shot can be given out LBW when the ball pitches outside what is his new leg-stump.

  • Ed_Lamb on June 16, 2008, 10:54 GMT

    Why when someone does something exceptional and different do we try to outlaw it? What amazing skill - to pull it off twice was incredible! Buchanan used to talk up ambidextrous throwing from fielders as being the future - ambidextrous batting could also be considered in future. This is an innovation that takes the game forward - let's not kill it.

  • CJC1 on June 16, 2008, 10:56 GMT

    This should definitely be illegal.

    In fact I thought it was. During a few age group games played a number of years ago now. I was told in no uncertain terms I was not allowed to change hands once the bowler had started his run-up. I was also able to bowl both hands (although not that well left, and well not that well right handed to be honest), and could change hands just prior to delivery. But after doing this once in a game, a no ball was called, and I was told I must nominate a hand and side of the wicket, prior to starting my run-up.

    So if in fact, as it appears, there is no rule stipulating you can't change hands batting, why is any different to bowling? Bowling is really hard enough without more lop-sided rules.

  • The_Wog on June 16, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    Law 36.3 already settled those questions - please don't suggest that slips cordons become illegal when the batsman switches hands. The MCC considered the reverse sweep, and concluded that both batsman and bowler need to nominate handedness before the ball comes into play and from that point the position of fielders, location of leg stump for LBWs and treatment of wides is determined. Then the batsman is free to play any kind of stroke. (No doubt they considered allowing the bowler to change hands, if not side of wicket, but the need to position sight screens in advance makes this a safety issue.)

    Also well done to Cricinfo for correctly reporting that since Pietersen changes hands, he is in fact playing a left-handed sweep rather than a right-handed reverse sweep.