Pietersen's about-turn June 16, 2008

MCC meets to discuss improvisation

Cricinfo staff
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Kevin Pietersen turns improviser to smack Scott Styris for a left-handed six © Getty Images
 

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • aditya.pidaparthy on June 20, 2008, 15:44 GMT

    Alright, so now the shot has been legalised. Good. It deserved to be.

    But I have a question, which I feel is fair.

    Would it have been still made legal, if this high profile shot was played for the first time on an international stage, by a Batsman from West Indies or say the subcontinent against say England/Australia/South Africa.

    Its important to answer this question in vacuum without considering the fact that KP was the first guy to actually pull it off. I would have loved to see what the "Purists" at MCC had to say if a subcontinental/windies player actually played it the first. And what their verdict would have been.

  • Gaming_Zone on June 18, 2008, 9:37 GMT

    Every thing is done. First Styris endorses Pietersen switch hitting and then Pietersen was allowed to carry on reversing. I think this case was a piece of cake,even for a ten year boy because it was very simple but these MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club)guys make it to complicated but now it's done!!!

  • knapsta on June 18, 2008, 2:45 GMT

    mshshafin

    You are missing the point completely here. It is not a requirement for the bowler to tell the batsman what type of delivery he will bowl. A spin bowler can bowl whatever delivery he likes, just as a batsman can shape to come down the wicket and then change to a back foot shot mid delivery. Oh what a game cricket would become if the bowler had to say, Mr Pieterson, I am going to bowl you an off-spinner 3 inches outside off stump and give it plenty of flight.

    It is to do entirely with the batsman's stance before the delivery is bowled and the rules associated with what determines leg side and offside etc etc.

  • azaro on June 17, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    My take is that the reverse sweep and Pietersen's shot are very different because in the former the batsmen is trying to play the shot counter to the stance whereas the latter entails changing the stance while the bowler is running up. The problem is not so much in the shot but in the limitations placed on the fielding side by the fielding restrictions and the designation of which is the offside and which is the legside for both the LBW and wide decisions.

    Remove or modify the existing fielding restrictions and have an ODI rule which states that the offside and onside are designated by the stance of the batsmen at the moment of delivery rather than when it comes into play and let them have at it! It may be moot inasmuch as how many other people have the ability to change their stance? Although, as I read in someone's comment, right handers might take their guard left handed and then easily switch to their natural stance as the bowler is running up!!

  • mshshafin on June 17, 2008, 13:40 GMT

    I agree with the shot of KP. If a bowler can change his delivery than a batsman can also change his style. When a bowler changes his delivery {Ex: A bowler says he’ll bowl leg break but he bowl off break/medium pace (like AFRIDI / KUMBLE / MURALI) then batsman can’t understand the bowl and can’t decide which shot should he play!} then a batsman have nothing to do. And see, this is bowler’s rights to change his delivery. Similarly batsmen should have some rights to change his mind/batting style. And umpire should treat those batsmen as a right handed, not as a lefty. Because, batsman has change his style at his own risk.

  • vertu on June 17, 2008, 13:30 GMT

    it is NOT a reverse sweep, he hasn't invented anything, he is simply playing a left handed sweep exactly the same as Hayden or Gilchrist or any other left hander would play

    the fact that he is ambidextrous is nothing special either , plenty of baseball players do it, lots of cricketers would be ambidextrous and could play the shot, perhaps not with the same power though, he is a powerful man after all.

  • knapsta on June 17, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    Lets get this straight, the issue here is clearly nothing to do with pieterson or inventing new strokes. This board is a perfect example of what the real issue is. If we cannot have agreement on what should and should not happen in the case of this happening again then how can we expect the umpires to make the correct call? The rules would need to be clarified so that all umpires would know how to make a correct call in the event of a possible wicket. None of this is about shot improvisation or wether the bowler is skillful enough to adjust in time, changing stance is an entirely different matter and if this requires a slight amendment to the rules then so be it. I welcome batting improvisations but rules are rules ladies and gentlemen and as a few people have pointed out - if the bowler must declare which side he bowls from then its only fair a batsmen must too. I don't care which side becomes leg side, I want the umpires to know so they can all make the right decision.

  • JawadShah on June 17, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Dear All

    I think i havent seen anything like this before. These were just more than best reverse sweeps ever. I dont think any other batsman in the world can lay such shorts. I have really developed great admiration for Peterson. About the rules. I think its not a big problem. As the batsman is a right handed, so if you have to give a wide r a Leg before just follow the rules of a right handed batsman and vice versa. This is how it should be done and this is how we usually play in Pakistan as well.

  • JPV70 on June 17, 2008, 12:44 GMT

    What a breathtaking shot to introduce into the international arena. And how about the reaction it's generated, first in the face of Scott Styris (a bemused 'ok-you-win' smile), then some enthusiastic discussion from the sky commentary team, and the fans in forums such as this - fantastic. Good for cricket I would have though. So now what, ban it? Are you serious? How about adapting the game a little so it's implications are understood and adhered to. Some sensible suggestions have been offered already re: LBW and field placements restrictions. Don't go take a backward step now by telling a batsman how he can and cannot grip his bat.

  • vertu on June 17, 2008, 12:43 GMT

    hypothetical... next ashes series on a bouncy lively pitch Alistair Cook (left handed normally) comes out and bats in a right handed stance thus only 2 fielders allowed behind square. Brett Lee is halfway in to bowl , Cook (legally) reverts to left hand stance , allowing a maximum of 2 fielders behind square on what is now the off side = 2 slip flelders maximum not a bad way to get rid of the "off side" close catchers ! you dont even need to actually be able to bat from the other side to exploit the loophole

    simple , the stance "side" taken up when facing must be maintained or offside and onside must no longer exists does it? thus get rid of all other laws relating to off side or onside , which means you can bowl a foot outside leg stump all day long with a stacked field behind square have fun watching that !

  • aditya.pidaparthy on June 20, 2008, 15:44 GMT

    Alright, so now the shot has been legalised. Good. It deserved to be.

    But I have a question, which I feel is fair.

    Would it have been still made legal, if this high profile shot was played for the first time on an international stage, by a Batsman from West Indies or say the subcontinent against say England/Australia/South Africa.

    Its important to answer this question in vacuum without considering the fact that KP was the first guy to actually pull it off. I would have loved to see what the "Purists" at MCC had to say if a subcontinental/windies player actually played it the first. And what their verdict would have been.

  • Gaming_Zone on June 18, 2008, 9:37 GMT

    Every thing is done. First Styris endorses Pietersen switch hitting and then Pietersen was allowed to carry on reversing. I think this case was a piece of cake,even for a ten year boy because it was very simple but these MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club)guys make it to complicated but now it's done!!!

  • knapsta on June 18, 2008, 2:45 GMT

    mshshafin

    You are missing the point completely here. It is not a requirement for the bowler to tell the batsman what type of delivery he will bowl. A spin bowler can bowl whatever delivery he likes, just as a batsman can shape to come down the wicket and then change to a back foot shot mid delivery. Oh what a game cricket would become if the bowler had to say, Mr Pieterson, I am going to bowl you an off-spinner 3 inches outside off stump and give it plenty of flight.

    It is to do entirely with the batsman's stance before the delivery is bowled and the rules associated with what determines leg side and offside etc etc.

  • azaro on June 17, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    My take is that the reverse sweep and Pietersen's shot are very different because in the former the batsmen is trying to play the shot counter to the stance whereas the latter entails changing the stance while the bowler is running up. The problem is not so much in the shot but in the limitations placed on the fielding side by the fielding restrictions and the designation of which is the offside and which is the legside for both the LBW and wide decisions.

    Remove or modify the existing fielding restrictions and have an ODI rule which states that the offside and onside are designated by the stance of the batsmen at the moment of delivery rather than when it comes into play and let them have at it! It may be moot inasmuch as how many other people have the ability to change their stance? Although, as I read in someone's comment, right handers might take their guard left handed and then easily switch to their natural stance as the bowler is running up!!

  • mshshafin on June 17, 2008, 13:40 GMT

    I agree with the shot of KP. If a bowler can change his delivery than a batsman can also change his style. When a bowler changes his delivery {Ex: A bowler says he’ll bowl leg break but he bowl off break/medium pace (like AFRIDI / KUMBLE / MURALI) then batsman can’t understand the bowl and can’t decide which shot should he play!} then a batsman have nothing to do. And see, this is bowler’s rights to change his delivery. Similarly batsmen should have some rights to change his mind/batting style. And umpire should treat those batsmen as a right handed, not as a lefty. Because, batsman has change his style at his own risk.

  • vertu on June 17, 2008, 13:30 GMT

    it is NOT a reverse sweep, he hasn't invented anything, he is simply playing a left handed sweep exactly the same as Hayden or Gilchrist or any other left hander would play

    the fact that he is ambidextrous is nothing special either , plenty of baseball players do it, lots of cricketers would be ambidextrous and could play the shot, perhaps not with the same power though, he is a powerful man after all.

  • knapsta on June 17, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    Lets get this straight, the issue here is clearly nothing to do with pieterson or inventing new strokes. This board is a perfect example of what the real issue is. If we cannot have agreement on what should and should not happen in the case of this happening again then how can we expect the umpires to make the correct call? The rules would need to be clarified so that all umpires would know how to make a correct call in the event of a possible wicket. None of this is about shot improvisation or wether the bowler is skillful enough to adjust in time, changing stance is an entirely different matter and if this requires a slight amendment to the rules then so be it. I welcome batting improvisations but rules are rules ladies and gentlemen and as a few people have pointed out - if the bowler must declare which side he bowls from then its only fair a batsmen must too. I don't care which side becomes leg side, I want the umpires to know so they can all make the right decision.

  • JawadShah on June 17, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Dear All

    I think i havent seen anything like this before. These were just more than best reverse sweeps ever. I dont think any other batsman in the world can lay such shorts. I have really developed great admiration for Peterson. About the rules. I think its not a big problem. As the batsman is a right handed, so if you have to give a wide r a Leg before just follow the rules of a right handed batsman and vice versa. This is how it should be done and this is how we usually play in Pakistan as well.

  • JPV70 on June 17, 2008, 12:44 GMT

    What a breathtaking shot to introduce into the international arena. And how about the reaction it's generated, first in the face of Scott Styris (a bemused 'ok-you-win' smile), then some enthusiastic discussion from the sky commentary team, and the fans in forums such as this - fantastic. Good for cricket I would have though. So now what, ban it? Are you serious? How about adapting the game a little so it's implications are understood and adhered to. Some sensible suggestions have been offered already re: LBW and field placements restrictions. Don't go take a backward step now by telling a batsman how he can and cannot grip his bat.

  • vertu on June 17, 2008, 12:43 GMT

    hypothetical... next ashes series on a bouncy lively pitch Alistair Cook (left handed normally) comes out and bats in a right handed stance thus only 2 fielders allowed behind square. Brett Lee is halfway in to bowl , Cook (legally) reverts to left hand stance , allowing a maximum of 2 fielders behind square on what is now the off side = 2 slip flelders maximum not a bad way to get rid of the "off side" close catchers ! you dont even need to actually be able to bat from the other side to exploit the loophole

    simple , the stance "side" taken up when facing must be maintained or offside and onside must no longer exists does it? thus get rid of all other laws relating to off side or onside , which means you can bowl a foot outside leg stump all day long with a stacked field behind square have fun watching that !

  • Gaming_Zone on June 17, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    That's not fair with the batsmen, obviously!!! because bowlers have permission to hide the ball from the batsmen they can bowl whatever they want,(excluding beamers,wide,no ball etc)such as yorkers.cutters, out swing or in swing and they don't tell the batsman which kind of ball they will be doing, even if they are bowling a fastball they can change their pace. the only problem here is that nobody (excluding Peterson) can play such Huge!,enormous shots and if the bowler saw the batsmen changing side he will be in a big problem,if he bowls a yorker,it means that if a batsmen plays that shot he is taking a huge risk to play that shot....ITS LEGAL

  • vertu on June 17, 2008, 12:37 GMT

    the shot should be made illegal a reverse sweep is fine , no problem but changing your grip and stance to the left side and hitting a conventional left handed sweep ( which is what kp is doing , he is NOT playing a reverse sweep) should be illegal

    mind you, If i were the bowler i would simply stop mid runup and adjust the field to the new stance why should a bowler bowl to a left handed batsmen with right handed field placings?

  • bikku on June 17, 2008, 12:29 GMT

    It's ridiculous to blame Pietersen. Its not fair and possible to impose similar kind of rules for batsman and bowlers. A batsman can hit the ball by coming out of crease but a bowler cant bowl like this way. he will be called No Ball by Umpire. isn't it? Similarly a fielder can take catch with either of his hand.

  • Barking_Mad on June 17, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    Granted, other batting quirks exist which are not disimilar in terms of their *intent* of gaining an advantage over the bowler, but they don't alter the fundamental fact the game has *always been played* with the batsman and bowler facing up to each other knowing what hand or stance they are using.

    To change this law changes an incredibly important part of the game will no doubt have many other consequences. For instance it needn't be just a slog shot, because by extention batsmen might well practice playing 'the other way' and use it more and more. Will cricket be the same game 10 years down the line when batsmen are reversing their stance and nudging singles on the other side of the wicket three times an over?

    To put it simply, it's just not cricket.

  • Dubby49 on June 17, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    Fair enough. Can't understand the fuss about the LBW rule, wides etc. The position at the time the bowler commence his run up should remain irrespective whether the batsman changes his grip or not.

  • Tayles23 on June 17, 2008, 11:47 GMT

    For the love of .... The MCC must seriously be joking. How many batsmen have been dismissed by trying a reverse sweep? The number of dismissals far outweighs the number of sixes ever hit with a reverse grip. If a batsman wants to chance his arm and take the greater risk of getting out, why should a law be enacted to prevent that? Plenty of bowlers have benefited from poor shot selection by batsmen in the past. Outlawing the reverse sweep would more likely harm their bowling averages than help them. Should the batsman also not be allowed to charge the bowler because it changes the length of the delivery that is being bowled? Even to be contemplating outlawing the reverse sweep is pure madness - it is correctness gone mad. It is an element of unpredictability that excites the crowd (and it IS entertainment we are paying for, isn't it?), gets the blood flowing in the bastman, and keeps the fielding team on their toes. I, for one, am not looking for a sanitised version of this great game.

  • Ganesan2008 on June 17, 2008, 11:41 GMT

    I think this is not fair to the bowler. What if the bowler changes from right arm to left arm bowling at the last minute?. Will it not confuse the batsman?. Reverse sweeps are done without changing the stance much and most of the time it is done after the delivery of the ball by the bowler. So, I feel that if at all it is legalised the condition should be that the change of stance should come only after the ball is delivered by the bowler. If the batsman is swift enough to do that it is fine.

  • Ganes.V on June 17, 2008, 11:22 GMT

    What KP did is extra ordinary. Not all batsmen have this ability to bat both right and left handed.But my honest opinion is that if this is allowed in International cricket,it gives the batsmen that much more "power"- if I may call it- because as such one day cricket is seen as a batsmen's game.The bats cricketrs use are much better than what it was ten years ago.The grounds are becoming smaller because viewers on the ground and at home watching the television wants to see as many sixes as possible.There are many rules which regulates the bowlers particularly the leg side wide is something which I just CANNOT agree to especially when the ball is say a few centimeters away from the leg stump.The batsmen should also follow rules.How would it be if a bowler who can bowl with both hands change hands at the time of delivery?Will any batsmen agree to it?The batsman should not be allowed to change the grip.Let them do a reverse sweep.Otherwise it cannot be called a reverse sweep at all. Ganes

  • Drew2 on June 17, 2008, 10:52 GMT

    I totally agree with Saud Sami. Don't outlaw the grip. If the batsman decides to change from right to left hand during the bowlers run up, then get rid of the leg side protection for LBWs. Every other aspect of this rule should remain the same. The same should apply to wides. This is an exciting development in the game. It is fairly high risk and deserves to be deemed as fair.

  • Iftekharul_Hasan_Siam on June 17, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Pietersen's shot is totally illegal. A batsmen & bowler both should acknowledge whether they are right-handed or left handed bowler or batsmen. If ICC tell its legal. Then I hope they will solve the confusion of wide balls. The bowler should be allowed to widen the wide ball lines.

  • Bamber on June 17, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    This seems a complete no-brainier - Cricket is entertainment and Pietersen epitomizes the new breed of entertaining sportsman so why would the game's custodians want to change this?? The bowler doesn't have to disclose in advance that he's going to bowl a slower ball and those bowlers that have the diverse skills to bowl medium pacers, off-cutters and quicker balls in a single over take a risk, so why not allow those batsmen with the courage and skills to experiment to have a go? Switch hitting should negate fielding restriction requirements, LBW should apply either way and wides should only be given if outside the line on the relevant side. Let's encourage improvisation and watch the game grow....!

  • daveyboys11 on June 17, 2008, 9:24 GMT

    why oh why every time something has us on the edge of our seats do the powers at be or the stiff upper lip club perceive it as some kind of cheating Pieterson is a brilliant batsman with a 1 day average of just over 50 who cares how he gets them. watch and enjoy was it strauss who slanted his bat and whipped the ball over the wicket keeper risking a double hit no-one complained everything new has a risk as a bowler when i saw a batsman moving excessively before my release i would send him a yorker which in pietersons case increases the chances of lbw or should i say tbw ( toe before )

  • nicktheump on June 17, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    Wow, this really has caused a stir...another point to consider KPs shots, why hasn't this been thought of before?? Simple - the bats that are being used these days allow a batsman to hit the ball considerably further than they did in the days of Mike Gatting's reverse sweeps and the ridiculously short boundaries employed in ODIs now take a lot of the risk factor out - a miss hit will probably be safe. Legislate on the bats being used. Id like to see KP do that shot with a 1985 piece of willow. Give him a bat David Gower used - then i will be impressed!! Nicktheump

  • Ross-Gower on June 17, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    The MCC and the ICC should endorse players like KP. They are the ones who keep us all interested in the game. Let Mr Selvy have his way and let the bowler choose which arm he will deliver with as I don't know many, if any, bowlers who can deliver equally as well with both approaches. The laws of the game with reference to players on the leg side and lbw may need to be changed to allow this kind of shot and not to banish it.

  • Subramanian on June 17, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    Yeh. The bowler seeing the batsman changing before delivery of the ball should not have delivered the ball.

  • SaudSami on June 17, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    It's very very simple. Don't outlaw the grip change but give all the benefits regarding LBW, Wides, Field setting etc to the fielding side in case the batsmen changes the grip.

    eg: 1) if the batsmen changes the grip, he can be out LBW no matter where the ball pitched as long as it was going to hit the stumps. 2) The ball will not be a wide if it is within the off side wide markers for a right and left handed batsmen. and so on....

    Problem solved!

  • Light-House on June 17, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    Why is there a fuss? If he were to be wrapped on the pads inline with the stumps he should be deemed out lbw.The impact of the ball with the batsman should matter not whether the batsman is right or left handed same should be the case with the wides. Only critical issue is 3 men behind square. In that case if the batsmen changes stance right handed to left handed or vice versa after the ball has been bowled the fielders behind square doesn't matter.

  • tough_cool on June 17, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    I just don't understand how it is always kevin pietersen who manages to pull off shots like this, outstanding and true to his attitude and that is what makes him all the more appealing. I think even if the keepers of the game outlaw this kind of shots he would still continue playing differently - with more new shots of his own which at this time we may now know to exist - and amaze us at every stage in his career. Its an honour to watch those shots played by pietersen. Hope sanity prevails and let somebody with skill and courage to play those shots be at his own freedom

  • aakashdevils on June 17, 2008, 7:10 GMT

    I think if the shot is declared legal then bowlers should also be give equal rights as in he should not have to declare his bowling hand and also the bowler can also switch his hand to bowl in his run up... that will make it fair for both bowler and batsman.. As far as laws are concerned, if a player invent a type of shot or a way to deliver a ball that makes game more interesting that shouldn't be consider illegal. After all, its about making game more interesting.

  • charlie39 on June 17, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    My feeling is that the shot should be allowed. Yes, the off-side suddenly becomes the leg-side and two or three slips would break the rule on fielders behind square leg - but this rule was put in to protect the batsman from bodyline bowling. If the batsman chooses to put himself at risk of a short fast ball aimed at his body which he can only fend off to what were slips before he switched - then that's his lookout. And by switching, the bowler should be given the opportunity to get him out LBW pitching both sides of the wicket. In short it seems to me that the batsman is putting himself at considerable risk in attempting the shot; bowlers will soon adapt.

  • Atul on June 17, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    I think the fact that Pietersen can do that shows his skill and confidence in his abilities.

    However, in order to be fair to the bowler, it is best it is deemed illegal. Since Cricket as a game is so much influenced by the left or right handedness of the batsmen and the bowler, it is only fair that these basic qualities are set before the bowler starts his run up.

    If the MCC deem that the shot is legal, then the same rights need to be granted to the bowler and the fielding captain. There are restrictions on changing the fielder's position on start of a run up, so there is no reason why the batsman should have one more advantage over the fielding team.

  • DingbatsXI on June 17, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    I think let the batsman play the shot. The moment the batsman changes his grip or stance or both (or has the intention) the off stump and leg stump definitions are no longer valid, thus leaving the wide 'marker' as if both stumps are the off stump. To further protect the fielding team, the ball does no longer has to pitch 'in-line' for the batsmen to be given out leg before (if the ball is going on to hit the stumps regardless of where it pitched, the batsman is OUT). Will be interesting to hear what the bowlers have to say, I think any decent bowler would fancy his chances of picking up a wicket if a right handed batsman continued playing left handed shots on a regular basis.

    I really like how much the games has progressed in the last 3 years!

  • dhiraj113 on June 17, 2008, 6:56 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?

  • ankush94 on June 17, 2008, 6:46 GMT

    What a flap!

    Please read Law 36.3 before you blog :

    The striker's stance when the bowler starts his run up defines the off-side which takes care of :

    LBW, More than 2 fielders behind square on leg side, Wide Ball on Leg/Off.

    Why change the laws one bit?

  • iboo on June 17, 2008, 6:45 GMT

    As far as I think, there is nothing wrong by playing any kind of shot that a batsmen wants! I think that its the quality of the batsmen and as long as he is going to get runs then theres no problem. I think that a bowler can change the way he is bowling if he sees the batsmen changing and if the batsmen is changing his stance or his grip after the ball has been bowled then its really tough and it comes down to how talented the batsmen is. There are already too many restrictions in the world of cricket at this rate most of the cricket followers will start to lose interest. I am a huge fan of cricket/ cricketer and i think we should allow the batsmen to bat his/her own way. If its the LBW decision thats gonna be a problem... just give it out if its gonna hit the stumps if the batsmen change the stance if its the problem with wide, just make decision to the actual hand of the batsmen (right hand batsmen or left hand). Just keep it simple.

  • Sharaafat on June 17, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    It is really an invention in cricket by Pieterson. Could you stop Misbah Ul Haq and other batsmen playing their special chucky shot by shuffling out side the off stumps?

    Peterson has been criticized because there is very less number of batsman who can even attempt the stroke like Peterson and he has success with this hit. Have any committee ever thought about not to allow reverse sweep in international Cricket?

    Finally, I will quote; it has equal chances to get batsman out in such stroke which Pieterson has attempted. We all should praise and support it.

  • rnarayan on June 17, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    I have on a couple of occasions in the past commented in these pages that switching grips should not be permitted, (on seeing KP doing it) any more than a bowler should be allowed to change bowling arms in delivery stride, tho I feel a reverse shot with the original grip is legit. Otherwise the application of current conventions on legside wides and the LBW rule would have to be rethought. What about fielding restrictions: If a right hand batsman changes into, effectively, a left hander, does that make 3 slips into legslips and the ball a no ball?! Does it endanger close in fielders? Does it constitute unfair play? I suggest the simplest way is to ban switching of grips.

  • LeaderARH on June 17, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    Never seen a shot like those before.But why should we focus so much on so called 'techniques'.If a batsman has the power and right placement,he can hit it anywhere around the park.I do not think the MCC should raise such silly questions.And even if these rules come into play,how would some batsmen who have a natural attacking instinct like McCullum,Sehwag,Afridi etc. play? For example among all the shots played in the inaugural IPL match by McCullum were not from the book.All this is rubbish.If a bowler has capability,he can get the batsman out.

  • aditya.pidaparthy on June 17, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    Will be quite interesting to watch if the rules for LBW, wides are modified every time a batsman braces up for a reverse grip or a reverse sweep. I feel bowlers should be given LBW's even if the ball pitches outside the original leg stump & both stumps should be considered an off stump for a wide. the bowlers should be given the freedom to sneak up from either side of the wicket without informing the umpire ahead. it may lead to some difficulty for the umpire to sight the no ball, we can do well by going back to the easier for umpire back foot rule.

    just to make sure the bowler does not run into the non striker when running up since it can be a last moment decision for him, the non striker should start completely outside the strip.

    the bowler should be allowed to bowl with either arm without pre-informing. Its a skill on both the bowler and batsman's part and should be allowed. Ambidextrous people will have as much advantage from this as people who are tall and get more bounce.

  • john_nash1982 on June 17, 2008, 5:44 GMT

    Then what happens to the players like Chanderpaul. They play neither like left nor right?? already the rules are quite ridiculous to say the least. Why should the ball pitch in line to be given LBW for left hander and not for right hander if a right hand bowler is bowling? why bowlers cant use disguise like batsmen do..if batsmen can use reverse sweep then bowlers should be allowed to bowl with both hand...and both sides of the wide line should be used. Its only good for cricket..if players like KP have the skill they should be allowed to use it. If bowler has ability to bowl with both hands he should be able to do it.

  • aumlanguha on June 17, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Few thoughts: 1. I reckon that what Pietersen did was innovative - & as such ought to be allowed. If at all, the laws need to be changed - the LBW law (pitching outside the leg-stump) ought to be changed. 2. The other aspect is that once the bowler realizes that the batsman is changing stances (from RH to LH or vice-versa), he has every right to abort that delivery; and consequently return to his bowling mark with a clearer plan as to how to tackle the situation. So why are people complaining? 3. As to the matter of wides, if someone is batting LH, the line for LH batsmen should apply (& vice versa).

    I honestly don't understand the rationale behind the criticism and why we need to change the laws...

  • fredwho on June 17, 2008, 5:30 GMT

    The Petersen Shot, to me, raises two questions:

    1-if Petersen was unsuccessful with this shot, and for instance, got bowled, say, four or five times, and say, it happened to other batters too, would there be a discussion about its legality, does this shot really give batters any advantage, isn't it as risky or more risky than many shots? and what about Pakistan bowler Sohail Tanveer's action? a related example in soccer might be the fact that it is OK for players to play with whichever foot they choose.

    2-what would one say of a bowler who in the process of say bowling right handed, somehow changed actions and delivered the ball with the left hand, don't bowlers already engage in this art with their change of pace&slower ball, and what about the short sudden bouncer?

    I don't see bowlers having a problem with this shot at all. His shot is actually really difficult. LBW and all those rules can be adapted to support an idea that once again improves the sport.

    Fred

  • mondotv on June 17, 2008, 4:58 GMT

    Exciting and attractive for crowds - yes. Skilfull for a right hander to bat left handed? Sort of, although plenty have. Much harder for a right handed bowler to bowl left-handed. Clearly this must be illegal. A fielding Captain is entitled to know which way around the batsman is facing. Or the off-side becomes the leg-side.. and you upset a bunch of laws that depend on that including LBW, wides, no more than 2 fielders behind square, umpires position etc. Pietersen is not the first to completely switch hands (perhaps just the most successful to date). Ian Chappell has complained about this tactic being overlooked by the laws for quite a while, but as usual our cricket admins are only just catching up. Perhaps they could leave it as legal in 20-20 where the game is completely biased towards the batsmen anyway and the crowd only comes to see the slogging, but in any other form of the game if you want to bat left-handed you must inform the umpire and the fielding captain.

  • Edassery on June 17, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    If a batsman can do that, even the bowler can. A bowler approaches the bowling side crease with the information that he's going to bowl to a particular type of batsman (say left hander/right hander/based on stands etc). If the batsman can then suddenly switch to a differently oriented one, even the bowler can opt to act like coming over the wicket and suddenly turn around the wicket right?

    While there is a rule that the fielders cannot move around once the bowler is on his way, similar rules should be applicable to the batsman as well.

    (I truly admire Pietersen and probably his intention was to show his skills and demoralize the bowling side. However, when such things happen, the ICC should look on to improving the rules and not to victimize the batsman)

    Ajith, Bangalore http://www.DollarShower.com/

  • DONSILVA on June 17, 2008, 4:43 GMT

    We should not forget the physical harm could happened to a fielders , specially closing fielders due to this act. For a practical example just imagine when either Murali OR Warn ball the fielders wish to come more and more closer, banking on their experience and accuracy. But if a guy tries to change the side's and smash like this could end up with a death to a closing guy. Should stop this immediately by giving the batsman out due to interruption to the fieldsman. The similar thing the baler could do is try to change the balling hand at the time of the delivery , not to mention that same requires great skill and ability. I could remember only one balers in the recent times use both the hands to deliver 6 balls in a over was former Sri Lanken captain Hashan Tilakarathne, but that was prior to inform to the umpire. With the introduction of the new strong bats, the game has already loss some attraction and with this innovation the team will prefer to score any runs made by the positions

  • solomonlaw on June 17, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    Great shot- Yes. legal shot- Maybe? In the spirit of the game- Definitely not! Heres a crazy notion but i thought cricket was a sporting contest between batsmen and bowlers. When this shot is played the bowler has no protection against wides and potential LBW decisions become confused. Heres some reality Kevin, you are a great batsman but not the worlds best and you might not be so happy when in the ashes, ponting, hussey, hayden and symonds use this shot against your own team with potentially greater effect than you could ever imagine. The sad thing was you played a great innings and your team was always going to win. But your actions in playing those two shots is all that the game might be remembered for.

  • terryr on June 17, 2008, 3:48 GMT

    All the commentators watching this game commented on what an outstanding piece of skill it was, even Michael Holding who questioned the legality. So if the ICC ban the shot they are penalizing talent. Sure even the odds give the bowler both wide lines and remove the leg stump ruling for LBW. But don't veto improvisation, embrace it and the game will benefit.

  • disboi on June 17, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    I have never seen a shot like this before. Amazing work from Pietersen. I don't know why the big daddy's of cricket can't agree with this. They are too much concerned about the field positions, wide call and all. Its simple!..no matter whether the batsman changes his position from right hand to left hand or not, the basic fielding rule will apply to that batsman. Suppose if a right hand batsman is changing the grip, and if the bowler delivers the ball past his pads, it won't be a wide as it would have been his off side if he maintained his original position. The same applies to the fielding position also.

  • hpnir on June 17, 2008, 2:35 GMT

    Rohan kanhai a cricket on his back for six it was something to behold Peterson while batting right handed reverse to left handed while the ball was in flight and hit two sixes in the over this is indeed a skill to behold.a fast bowler can either bowl fast spin or slow to deceive the batsman a batsman can play any shot to score runs.Misbah of pakistian in the 20/20 world cup went to his off side to play a ball to his side only to bet out but if the ball had gone over the fielder head pakistian would have won a batsman have to play any shot he chooes. posted by harold naidu

  • Velocity150 on June 17, 2008, 2:27 GMT

    I don't understand the fuss. It's not like the more conventional reverse sweep where the change may happen after or just before the bowler releases the ball.

    Good bowlers should be able to adjust in time.

  • Pabs2109 on June 17, 2008, 2:16 GMT

    So if Pietersen walks out at the next game, faces up left-handed, then anything pitching outside the left-hand stump can't get him out LBW. The bowler will have to risk bowling as if to a right-handed batsman, and it being called wide down legside to Pieterson, remaining batting left-handed; or, he could bowl as if to a left-handed batsman, and have him revert to right-handed and clip it off his legs.

    I agree that it was a fantastic shot, but Vettori was right that maybe things should be evened up a little bit.

    I was always told as a kid that once you'd taken your stance you couldn't change...

  • adamtwittey on June 17, 2008, 1:00 GMT

    Mobly: Comparing changing batting stances to doosra's and the like is not right.

    The bowler must specify what hand is delivering the ball and the approach (over/around) however the batsman doesn't. As far as that logic is concerned, the shots are legal. Is it in the spirit of the game? I think so. It is no different to Matthew Hayden waltzing down the pitch halfway through the bowler's delivery stride; the bowler has the same reaction time. Clearly it put's the batsman in some sort of risk zone being wrong-footed and wrong-handed, but it has the advantage of having a mirror-image field.

    The only reason this has come up as someone has genuinely questioned what the ruling is regarding LBW laws and field placings, which does need to be clarified. My opinion is fielding restrictions/stump designation should be locked in at the start of the delivery stride. The sportsmanship questions were just asked to give bulk to the article and should be dismissed with all the other media hype.

  • peeeeet on June 17, 2008, 0:53 GMT

    The shot Pieterson has played is not a reverse sweep. Its a conventional sweep for the left handed batsman. The "traditional" reverse sweep for the right hander is to keep his right hand as the bottom hand and instead of changing grips he twists the bat in his hand. That is a great shot, and he hasn't changed his stance. If a batsman is allowed to change his grip, then I think a bowler not only can decide to bowl right or left handed, but can change to over or round the wicket at will. And those posters saying its the same as a bowler varying his deliveries, remember that the bowler doesn't know if the batsman is going to leave, block or slog either, and its not the same because if the bowler mixes up his deliveries its all done with the same hand and run-up.

  • Mollaj on June 17, 2008, 0:50 GMT

    The issue for me is that once he is spun around into a left-hander the law seems to not change the wide requirements for him. A ball that misses the new off stump by a few inches can be called a leg side wide! Law 25.1(b) and 25.2 seem to protect the batsman until the switch hit is definded as a "normal cricket stroke" The law (23.4) seems to still class him as a right handed batsman.

  • fortheloveofthegame on June 17, 2008, 0:24 GMT

    As far as I have ever known, the only thing that made the reverse sweep allowable was the fact that you cannot reverse your hands to a traditional left handers grip from a right handers.. it seems this is not set in stone as Pieterson is clearly sporting a left handers grip in this photo.

    As many here have stated - it does take skill to pull off a shot like that and it does add value to the game but questions need to be asked in regards to LBW decisions and wides and how umpires deal with the situation.

    Certain scenarios outline the need for such a shot - eg - If a fielding side has packed the on or off side and are bowling a specific/negative line, i believe the batsman has a right to change his stance or grip to counter that line of bowling.

    Yes.. lets hope common sense prevails.

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

    If Kevin's improvising shot is ruled legal by the MCC, the door will be flung wide open for all sorts of unwanted intruders into our beloved game. To the extent that tens years ahead, the indignity we now suffer being compared to baseball will become evidencially palatable. I am in total agreement with the comments of summer07. I think its the major argument against Kevin's improvisation. If ruled legal - then a bowler can inform the umpire that he's bowling left arm around the wicket - but without notification or penalty, bowl right arm over. And it is silly to compare Kevin's improvisation to a bowler bowling a googly or a slower ball without notifying the batsman. For then you would have to go further. A batsman would then have to tell the bowler, "I'm coming down to your next delivery." There would be no real end to the silliness. Rightly, the MCC should rule this particular improvisation illegal!

  • Squizza on June 16, 2008, 23:07 GMT

    I enjoyed the shots played by K.P. As a left handed batsman myself I enjoyed them, and they were proper cricket shots too...not some wild wog at the ball. The only problem I have with this is the wide and LBW. Both of these are determind based on ultimately the batsmans stance...the wide line changes for left / right hand batsman, and the margin for LBW changes as well (i.e Off & Leg stumps), therefore, if a batsman decides to change his stance (not just his grip because moving your hands higher or lower on the handle constitues as a change of the grip) the umpire must take this in to consideration and alter the "lines". It is rubbish that people are going to start to compare this change to the art of bowling, there are so many rules in favour of the batting side, the bowlers need to have an advantage some where!!

  • trvsastha99comcast on June 16, 2008, 22:51 GMT

    Posted by AtholX on June 16 2008, 17:30 PM GMT seems sensible; however, on the lighter side (and stronger side too) - this is akin to the BCCI banning ICL while running it's own IPL!!!

    Posted by prats_p on June 16 2008, 17:25 PM GMT seems illogical! Then why not allow the bowler to change too??? Sling arm bowling is OK?? The bowler suddenly bowls under arm by bringing his arm all the way down??? - is that OK???

    A question before I conclude (for now): What iff (if and only if) a batsman had a wierd unusual way of holding the bat as a RH batsman and plays as a LH batsman? or Vice-versa???

  • DavidR on June 16, 2008, 21:03 GMT

    AtholX has it spot on - quite simple, just define off/leg, wides, etc, according to batsman's initial stance, as per the rules. It's not as if it's an easy thing to do!. Best way to counter it must be bowling wide of off - or leg to the reversed stance - he wont be doing this to tickle a leg glance, and presumably there's a third man/i.e. fine leg in place. Actually saw this done by a guy in grade cricket in Australia over 20 years ago - he hit a 6, and then later we were sure we had him lbw, but the ump. probably got confused and thought the ball pitched outside leg, when it was off.

  • JackMacl on June 16, 2008, 20:39 GMT

    "It is definitely a question to be answered, because why should the batsman only get that advantage. what happens if a right hand bowler comes running and then switches his arm while delivering, what would that constitute to, a fair play?"

    Only if he told the batsman he was going to bowl with that hand, and he switched from the other hand.

    I can see nothing wrong with reverse-sweeping and the like, but I think that his leg-side and off-side should remain the same. So if a right-hander is reverse-sweeping, a right-arm bowler could still bowl one outside the stump on the left without it being a leg-side wide. Same with LBWs.

  • malcmac on June 16, 2008, 19:53 GMT

    Why the fuss? Can't see any problem with swapping hands if you're skillful enough. But the batsman forfeits the chance of legside wide and the 3 behind leg no ball. Also pitching outside leg does not prevent an lbw decision. That should even things out.

  • MileStone_PK on June 16, 2008, 19:41 GMT

    I am qutoing KP here. "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.

    KP actually contradicted himeslf in that statement. First he was saying that reverse sweep is there for years, but then he said that he has invented a new shot.

    In my opinion, batsman should not be allowed to change his grip, similarly bowler cant chnage his arm or bowl over or around the wkt without informing the batsman first.

  • DevilsAdvocate666 on June 16, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    Switching grips is a whole lot different than advancing down the wicket. It does bring into question issues such as wides and lbws as mentioned in the article. My personal opinion is that the batsman should be able to play any shot he wants with any grip/stance he wants but the moment he switches most of the laws should be applied as if he was originally in that stance.As an example when a batsman who had taken a right handed stance before the bowler ran up, proceeds to play a left handed shot he will be treated as a left hander. The only exception here should be that the fielding team should not be penalized for field placement issues such as having three men behind on the leg side.

    As a side note if any bowler out there feels hard done by my suggestions, as they have to announce beforehand which side of the wicket they will bowl from, they are more than welcome to deliver the ball with their opposite hand unannounced, anytime, if they are able to that is.

  • Lateralis on June 16, 2008, 18:48 GMT

    I'm not sure I particularly agree with Kevin Pietersen's use of logic, however, it would be a great shame for the game if improvisational strokes such as those were outlawed.

    That being said, Mike Selvey does raise a number of interesting questions. I think most of them are easily solved - for example, define the leg- and off-side field and hence LBW and associated laws according to the original guard the batsman assumes prior to the bowler starting their run up - but they are still interesting nonetheless and do need some careful consideration.

  • Gaganaut on June 16, 2008, 18:40 GMT

    Fenderpick, makes a valid point of a batsman walking down the wicket. But here it should be understood that this is different than changing the hand while batting. As a bowler, one could have different basic strategies to bowl to different handed batsmen (around the wicket to LHB etc.). So in the case of change of hands, the bowler cannot use his strategies, and improvisation is not always perfect. In case of a charging batsman, the field can still remain the same, so can the bowler's style of bowling. The bowler can just bowl a bouncer or pull some other trick to foil the attempt. With a batsman suddenly changing hand, it is more or less a cat in the box scenario. So although it takes immense skill to pull off some shot like Pietersen's, I think that allowing this shot will be slightly unfair to the bowler.

  • summer07 on June 16, 2008, 18:10 GMT

    It is definitely a question to be answered, because why should the batsman only get that advantage. what happens if a right hand bowler comes running and then switches his arm while delivering, what would that constitute to, a fair play?

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

    I don't think it should be allowed what if a bowler steamed in for his first delivery, picked up the ball turned around and bowled him out with leg spin? Surely a riot would ensue.

  • AtholX on June 16, 2008, 17:30 GMT

    Why all this fuss about the lbw and wide rules? Why not simply apply them as for the original stance taken by the batsman? Off side wides allowed (albeit down the leg side in the new stance) - this is only fair - Daniel Vettori is perfectly correct but note that as the fielding captain, he strongly endorsed this creative and exciting innovation. The problems only start to arise if the umpire has to realign decision-making because of the change in stance.

  • Prats6 on June 16, 2008, 17:25 GMT

    i dont think its against the spirit , we have to remember that it is an innovation and its a very difficult shot to be successfully execute. Lets not be critical and stunt such innovations. The logic is simple, A batsman cannot be penalized for being brilliant. I hope common sense prevails.

  • Gibsam on June 16, 2008, 17:24 GMT

    For that matter, should the bowler inform the batsman when he changes his grip to bowl a googly. I seem to remember that Paul Adams used to hide the ball with his other hand when he ran up to bowl. That was legal, wasn't it?

  • scragend on June 16, 2008, 17:12 GMT

    If Mike Selvey wants to know "where the umpire stands with the LBW law", he could try reading said Law, namely Law 36.3 :

    "3. Off side of wicket The off side of the striker's wicket shall be determined by the striker's stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery."

    Which part of this does he not understand?

  • mobly on June 16, 2008, 17:07 GMT

    I think there are quite a few things that bowlers are doing that can be considered disguising such as bowling the Doosra, Googly without informing the bastman in advance. As Fenderpick pointed out in his post there will be quite a few things that can come under the same scanner if law is to be change for reverse sweep or reverse pull. If bastman can watch bowlers-arm carefully to guess the seam position and possible Googly or doosra than I guess its time for bowlers to do the same and change their length in the last moments depending on bastman movments. Its all about being more skillful and it should be encouraged and not condemned by needless law enforcements

    Also, remember bastman only gets one chance and risk factor are enormous in playing this shot and such improvisations will only make the game more entertaining and options are there for both teams. Its better to be more skillful than critic at times.

  • kala_bacha on June 16, 2008, 17:03 GMT

    Come-on! What the matter with ICC. If batsman cannot play reverse swipe then why fast bowler bowled "slow ball" because he is "fast bowler". If we do not have this shots in the cricket how we are going to enjoy it. Any comments more then welcome :)

  • samkkaran on June 16, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    The shot was perfectly legal and the batsman has all the rights to change his grip...For the wide and 3 fielders behind on the leg side,the bowler always has the option to stop before delivering the ball.These kind of shots just add a new dimension to the game...

  • andyakaafundaa on June 16, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    The shots seemed perfectly legal to me. Just because he has hit a couple of shots with a left hand batsmans grip does not make him a left-handed batsman. When he took guard after arriving at the batting crease, it was based on a right hand batsman's grip. As a result, all decisions taken by the umpire such as wide ball and LBW would be based on this.

    The shot with reverse grips is a high risk shot and if Styris had bowled a good length ball just outside offstump (Right hand batsman's off stump) and if it had hit the batsmans pads in line with the stumps, then that would be out LBW in my opinion.

    I would like to appeal to MCC & ICC to let umpires use common sense on the field for such matters. Changing or creating a law would be a disaster.

  • thunderhari on June 16, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    A leg spinner bowls off spin all of a sudden and that is perfectly legal and is not against the spirit of the game... Why is this against the spirit of the game?

  • nk83 on June 16, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    I liked the shot, but it has to be fair for both batsmen and bowlers. So the rule should change to give the bowlers something and let them bowl from which ever side of the stumps and whatever hand they want to use. As for the wide line, fielding position etc. well they umpires should judge based on the normal bating stance for the batsmen- there has to be advantages and disadvantages of taking that risky shot. If you have to tell the umpire when that you're going to switch to lefty or vice versa and the fielding changes well that defeats the purpose of switching it. Bottom line, change to rule to allow bowlers to bowl from whatever side and hand. Let them get innovative, it will only make the game more interesting.

  • yv100 on June 16, 2008, 16:43 GMT

    Just because it went for a 6 guardians of the game complain. If Pieterson would have got out playing it they would have criticized him for getting out. If Vettori think it was amazing and didnt complain why are people who havent acheived much in cricket complaining. These shots are high risk shots and if Pieterson thinks he can pull them off its his choice. The bowler doesnt say when bowling if he's bowling a bouncer, beamer or a yorker, does he?

    Yogi

  • Bevan_Eleven on June 16, 2008, 16:27 GMT

    Mike Selvey's probably right to point out that the laws regarding it need to be cleared up. But there seems no reason why such a shot cannot be incorporated into the laws of the game, perhaps by regarding Pietersen at that point as being a left-handed batsman and treating him as such. As to the complaint that bowlers have to declare to the umpire which arm they will bowl with, could this law not also be changed so that a bowler who is capable is able to bring an extra dimension to their bowling? Would this not a) be a step towards reducing that bat-ball imbalance and b) be the sort of innovation that would increase the interest of watching test cricket? Just a thought...

  • SrikanthReddi on June 16, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    Firstly, I would like to appreciate the 'ambidextrous' Kevin Pietersen for playing such an amazing stroke.I think this will make kids to practice batting both ways. If somebody plays the reverse shot so often, that will disturb the bowler. Bowler cannot change his line & length at the very last minute. Capabale batsmen might take advantage of this loophole in ICC rules and play the shot often to emabarass the fielding side. In this batsmen favored sport, this will be one more challenge for bowlers.

  • skris on June 16, 2008, 16:17 GMT

    If a batsman is allowed to change his grip to left or right, the bowler should also be allowed to bowl left or right at the last minute? This has been a batsman's game for far too long...lets give something back to the bowlers!!

  • Aarfi on June 16, 2008, 16:15 GMT

    I totally agree with Mike Selvey as Ian Chappell has been pointing this out for many years...we are confusing this left-handed slog sweep with a traditional reverse sweep.

    Legal reverse sweep should be played by just changing the grip without changing the stance. Pietersen could well learn that from none other than Andy Flower.

  • Dine on June 16, 2008, 16:14 GMT

    Sorry gentlemen, this cannot be allowed. Reverse sweep is to keep your stance (right or left) and then reverse your bat, isn't it....? This is illegal and should not be allowed to do. If a batsman changes his stance then, LBW and wides (as mentioned in this article) must change, how is that possible...??? In this case i will say preserve the game. Atleast a batsman must declare before a delivery if he is changing his stance.

  • Rovic on June 16, 2008, 16:14 GMT

    It seems like ICC has nothing better to do nowadays. I believe if KP had been out playing this shot , nothing would have been discussed. Just because someone manages do to some innovative batting , let's not called it illegal. nice Batting KP.. keep it up..

  • junaidmirza on June 16, 2008, 16:00 GMT

    I might be wrong here, but didn't Moin Khan of Pakistan switch his grip regularly? I remember commentators talking about the legality of this shot 10-12 years ago and am surprised to see this become an issue now.

  • A_Fan on June 16, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    I dont mind KP or anybodyelse playing these shots, but it cant be all one way traffic, as Vettori says, bowlers should not be wided on the leg-side as strictly as now, a batsman turning around almost guarantees him a ball in a hittable zone.

    I would also add the removal of lbw not being given to ball pitched outside leg in this case or any case in which the batsman changes position before the ball is delivered.

    Another thing I would add is bowlers should be able to change their bowling hand and fielders free to move in or out at any time. I am not being unreasonable here if the batsman turns around, a off side field has to change to a leg-side and vice versa, bowlers are not goats on the fields ready to be slaughtered.

  • ashwin_547 on June 16, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    It should be allowed. I mean KP is right, there are so many new changes to cricket, the referrals, IPL and we accept them all, so logically this should also be 'accepted' and be completely alright, and for him the same rules as a right hand batsman should be applied.

  • Mark-H on June 16, 2008, 15:49 GMT

    By all means let Pietersen (or any batsman) play the shot.

    However to even things up a little some tinkering with the Laws is required. Quite simply if a batsman decides to "switch-hit" then it should remove the distinction between off and leg sides.

    In particular: - no restriction on the number of fielders behind the stumps on the leg side - in the event of an appeal for LBW the only criteria should be that the ball is hitting the stumps i.e. where the ball pitches and the point of impact are irrelevant - when judging a wide the umpire should use the criteria for the off-side, regardless of which side of the batsman the ball passes

  • Ed_Lamb on June 16, 2008, 15:46 GMT

    "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 All that's needed is a bit of common sense. To Selvey's points: - Styris fired the ball away to the right of the stumps, would that have constituted a leg-side wide? No, just like when the batsman moves outside leg, the umpire alters what they consider to be a wide. - Where does the umpire stand with the lbw law in all this? Which is leg-stump and which is off? The way the batsman stands when the bowler starts running up defines what is off and leg stump. - 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? No, obviously.

  • Sudhirhk on June 16, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    I don't understand what's the furore about Pietersen's improvised shots. Come on!! For god's sake, it was improvisation at its best and the MCC want to discuss the legality of it? It is similar to a batsman moving around in the crease before the bowler bowls. Instead of having some high profile discussion for such a simple matter and go hunky dory over it, just introduce what Vettori has said "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." Practical and simple and matter closed. The old heads up there doesn't need to get their blood pressure up for suchk trivial aspects.

  • delta682003 on June 16, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    It's ridiculous. If someone has the audacity as a right handed batsman to play left handed then why not let him play it? Its a measure of skill and taking that away takes some of the fun (bearing in mind all the T20 arguments at the moment) of watching a world class batsman play. It's as silly as saying to a leggy "you can bowl a googly, but you've got to tell the batter and the umpire first". Utterly unbelievable. Bowlers have to develop different deliveries to their armoury, just as batsmen need to develop shots to play them. Besides, these are international teams, either the ball(s) bowled were poor enough to reverse-sweep, or the shouts were so good that they were awe inspiring. A word to the powers-that-be - outlawing these kind of exciting shots will just make the game less appealing, anyway, lets face it, we don't see this kind of bat play everyday by everybody do we? Let it go and let cricket be played without needless bureaucracy.

  • Tumo on June 16, 2008, 15:18 GMT

    I think that people are over-reacting to what was, and is, a brilliant shot. if you watched the game, the commentators loved it! it just seems to me that the tradititionalists can't move on with the game. surely all he's doing is playing a pre-meditated shot? i'm not sure about the grip, but i've seen him play that shot before, people can't react too much to it.

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

    The wide, LBW and no ball aspects are covered by Law 36.3 which states "The off side of the striker's wicket shall be determined by the striker's stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery." In the Notes to Law 36.3 in Tom Smith's New Cricket Umpiring and Scoring it states inter alia, that it is quite legitimate for a batsman to change his stance after the bowler has started his run-up. Any change thus made does not alter the position of leg or off side for that delivery. Pietersen's shots therefore are within the Laws. Whether that Law is fair to both sides is a very debatable point.

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

    Adding to my previous comment, if a batsmen can learn to bat right and left handed, a bowler can learn to bowl left and right arm, so as far as any advantages go, it's up to the players to put the effort in.

  • Fenderpick on June 16, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    Surely it's up to the batsmen what shot he wants to play regardless of the fact he switches grip, thats his initiative, and he has put work in to be able to produce the stroke of his own accord. And over the legality of the shot, switching grips before the bowler has reached the crease, isn't that the same principal as advanving down the wicket before the bowler reaches the crease? And thats legal....

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  • Fenderpick on June 16, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    Surely it's up to the batsmen what shot he wants to play regardless of the fact he switches grip, thats his initiative, and he has put work in to be able to produce the stroke of his own accord. And over the legality of the shot, switching grips before the bowler has reached the crease, isn't that the same principal as advanving down the wicket before the bowler reaches the crease? And thats legal....

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

    Adding to my previous comment, if a batsmen can learn to bat right and left handed, a bowler can learn to bowl left and right arm, so as far as any advantages go, it's up to the players to put the effort in.

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

    The wide, LBW and no ball aspects are covered by Law 36.3 which states "The off side of the striker's wicket shall be determined by the striker's stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery." In the Notes to Law 36.3 in Tom Smith's New Cricket Umpiring and Scoring it states inter alia, that it is quite legitimate for a batsman to change his stance after the bowler has started his run-up. Any change thus made does not alter the position of leg or off side for that delivery. Pietersen's shots therefore are within the Laws. Whether that Law is fair to both sides is a very debatable point.

  • Tumo on June 16, 2008, 15:18 GMT

    I think that people are over-reacting to what was, and is, a brilliant shot. if you watched the game, the commentators loved it! it just seems to me that the tradititionalists can't move on with the game. surely all he's doing is playing a pre-meditated shot? i'm not sure about the grip, but i've seen him play that shot before, people can't react too much to it.

  • delta682003 on June 16, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    It's ridiculous. If someone has the audacity as a right handed batsman to play left handed then why not let him play it? Its a measure of skill and taking that away takes some of the fun (bearing in mind all the T20 arguments at the moment) of watching a world class batsman play. It's as silly as saying to a leggy "you can bowl a googly, but you've got to tell the batter and the umpire first". Utterly unbelievable. Bowlers have to develop different deliveries to their armoury, just as batsmen need to develop shots to play them. Besides, these are international teams, either the ball(s) bowled were poor enough to reverse-sweep, or the shouts were so good that they were awe inspiring. A word to the powers-that-be - outlawing these kind of exciting shots will just make the game less appealing, anyway, lets face it, we don't see this kind of bat play everyday by everybody do we? Let it go and let cricket be played without needless bureaucracy.

  • Sudhirhk on June 16, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    I don't understand what's the furore about Pietersen's improvised shots. Come on!! For god's sake, it was improvisation at its best and the MCC want to discuss the legality of it? It is similar to a batsman moving around in the crease before the bowler bowls. Instead of having some high profile discussion for such a simple matter and go hunky dory over it, just introduce what Vettori has said "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." Practical and simple and matter closed. The old heads up there doesn't need to get their blood pressure up for suchk trivial aspects.

  • Ed_Lamb on June 16, 2008, 15:46 GMT

    "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 All that's needed is a bit of common sense. To Selvey's points: - Styris fired the ball away to the right of the stumps, would that have constituted a leg-side wide? No, just like when the batsman moves outside leg, the umpire alters what they consider to be a wide. - Where does the umpire stand with the lbw law in all this? Which is leg-stump and which is off? The way the batsman stands when the bowler starts running up defines what is off and leg stump. - 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? No, obviously.

  • Mark-H on June 16, 2008, 15:49 GMT

    By all means let Pietersen (or any batsman) play the shot.

    However to even things up a little some tinkering with the Laws is required. Quite simply if a batsman decides to "switch-hit" then it should remove the distinction between off and leg sides.

    In particular: - no restriction on the number of fielders behind the stumps on the leg side - in the event of an appeal for LBW the only criteria should be that the ball is hitting the stumps i.e. where the ball pitches and the point of impact are irrelevant - when judging a wide the umpire should use the criteria for the off-side, regardless of which side of the batsman the ball passes

  • ashwin_547 on June 16, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    It should be allowed. I mean KP is right, there are so many new changes to cricket, the referrals, IPL and we accept them all, so logically this should also be 'accepted' and be completely alright, and for him the same rules as a right hand batsman should be applied.

  • A_Fan on June 16, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    I dont mind KP or anybodyelse playing these shots, but it cant be all one way traffic, as Vettori says, bowlers should not be wided on the leg-side as strictly as now, a batsman turning around almost guarantees him a ball in a hittable zone.

    I would also add the removal of lbw not being given to ball pitched outside leg in this case or any case in which the batsman changes position before the ball is delivered.

    Another thing I would add is bowlers should be able to change their bowling hand and fielders free to move in or out at any time. I am not being unreasonable here if the batsman turns around, a off side field has to change to a leg-side and vice versa, bowlers are not goats on the fields ready to be slaughtered.