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June 16, 2008
The MCC, the guardians of cricket's laws, will discuss the legality of the shots played by Kevin Pietersen during the first ODI against New Zealand at Chester-le-Street when they meet at Lord's on Tuesday. In the course of his match-winning century, Pietersen twice switched his grip and stance to hit Scott Styris for six, essentially turning from a right to a left-hand batsman, while the bowler was approaching the crease.
A meeting to discuss issues such as grip changes and reverse-sweeps had been requested by the ICC last month before yesterday's events.
"The ICC has asked the MCC to look at it and make a recommendation," the MCC's Abi Carter told AP, adding that they had the power to make a recommendation within hours of meeting. An actual change to the laws, however, would need more consultation.
"Yes, it is on the agenda but it won't change overnight," an MCC spokesman told Cricinfo.
Pietersen was clear that he believed the strokes were quite legal. "Reverse-sweeps have been part of the game for however long," he said. "I am just fortunate that I can hit it a bit further. Everybody wants brand new ideas, new inventions and that's a new shot. Nobody has seen it before.
"There's new things happening to cricket at the moment and people are criticising all the time," he said. "There should just be positives about all the stuff that's happening."
Even Daniel Vettori, New Zealand's captain, approved. "It's amazing to see and I think it's really good for the game that batsmen have the skill to do that. The only thing I would say about it is that if you're going to bat left-handed then I think to even it up for the bowlers you should have both sides of the wide line. That would bring your skill into play and the wicketkeeper's skill into play, if a batsman wants to change then it should be fair for both ball and batsmen."
Not everyone at Chester-le-Street was convinced of the merits of the stroke however. The Guardian cricket correspondent, Mike Selvey - himself a former fast bowler - wrote: "Astounding and audacious strokes these may have been but there is something not quite right about their provenance. It poses a number of questions. Should the batsman be obliged to declare if he is playing right- or left-handed? The bowler has to. Vettori and the bowler would have wanted to change his field setting had he known of the reversal. Had Styris fired the ball away to the right of the stumps, would that have constituted a leg-side wide?
"And where does the umpire stand with the lbw law in all this?" asked Selvey. "Which is leg stump and which is off? Would a slip, a gully and backward point, say, constitute three men behind on the leg side and so render the delivery a no-ball? Given the early stage at which Pietersen revised his stance, Styris could have stopped his run-up and started again."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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