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Switch hitters are people too

Findings reveal those who change stance and hand position when the bowler is in his stride are a misunderstood lot

R Rajkumar

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Kevin Pietersen wrapped up warm whilst in the field, Worcestershire v Surrey, County Championship, Division One, 1st day, New Road, May 9, 2012
Not an unspeakable pervert, then © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Kevin Pietersen

In what has increasingly come to be regarded as the biggest civil rights issue of the 21st century, the ICC will meet later this month to decide the fate of that much misunderstood and maligned group of people walking among us - switch hitters.

Long discriminated against for their alternative lifestyle and so-called unpredictable nature, switch hitters have in recent times come into the public glare thanks in large part to Kevin Pietersen, touted by civil rights watchdogs and the media as the Rosa Parks of the long-suffering minority.

"Hi, my name is Kevin Pietersen, and gosh darn it, I'm proud to say that I'm a switch hitter," said Mr Pietersen to rapturous applause recently at a function to mark the launch of the latest product he is endorsing - a revolutionary pair of shoes that can be used interchangeably to fit either left foot or right, and consequently fit neither.

"I'm living proof that switch hitters are just as normal as anyone else," said Mr Pietersen, hobbling about the stage as he modelled the shoes and addressed a packed conference room at an airport Hilton. Though he appeared to be in considerable pain, Mr Pietersen didn't fail to take the opportunity to speak about what is clearly dearest to his heart these days: LLLYDSTOC, DY? - a charity he heads to engender awareness and tolerance amongst the mainstream for the switch hitter community.

"At LOL LOL LOL You Didn't See That One Coming, Did Ya? we fight for justice," he thundered. "And I'm here to tell you that the proposed ICC law that will make it okay for a switch hitter to be out lbw is not only discriminatory but a violation of our god-given rights as human beings."

Mr Pietersen later sat down with this correspondent for an interview as he tried to prise the shoes off his swollen, bloodied feet. The England and Delhi Daredevils star touched upon many topics, including his painful early memories trying to adjust to life as a closet switch-hitter, and the subsequent fallout with family and friends when he chose to come out.

Excerpts:

Let's start off with a bit of a controversial question. Are switch hitters born or are they made?
Well, I believe I was born a switch hitter. Some people like to say that switch hitters are products of their environment. Latest research, however, points to overwhelming evidence that we are just as natural as your average batsman next door, only wired a little differently.

When did you first become aware that you were a switch hitter?
Well, as far back as I can remember, to be honest. I always felt a little different from all the other kids at school, for example. At first I thought something was wrong with me.

Were you bullied?
Of course. Kids can be really cruel once they find out that you can go both ways as a batsman. You become the brunt of jokes, an outcast. The ironic thing, of course, is that most people who pick on switch hitters are doing so out of a deep-seated insecurity about their own batsmanship. Many right-handed batsmen are latent left-handers and vice versa.

So, by that definition, is Sachin Tendulkar a switch hitter as well?
(Long pause) Yes. Yes, he is. He may not admit it, but he is a right-handed batsman trapped in a left-hander's body. I saw him once...

You saw Sachin Tendulkar switch-hitting? Are you aware of the grievous nature of this accusation?
Look, I don't want to stir up any trouble. I'll just say this: if Sachin Tendulkar, or any batsman, for that matter, were really honest with himself, he would see that, deep inside, he is a switch hitter as well. Inside everyone, even you, there's a switch hitter just waiting to change his stance at the very last moment before the bowler delivers the ball.

Okay, moving on. The ICC will soon be taking a call on some of the "legalities" of switch hitting. Your comments.
Well, it's a landmark case, without a doubt. And I remain quietly confident that justice will prevail. I've even petitioned Obama to come out in support of us, and I'm confident he won't let us down.

Wait. Are you saying that Barack Obama is a pitch hitter as we…
Yes. Yes he is.

R Rajkumar tweets here

All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 7 
Posted by   on (May 20, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

Barrack Obama, pitch hitter or switch hitter?

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (May 20, 2012, 2:12 GMT)

Rajkumar,lets get it straight...it has been clearly stated in the Holy scriptures that the course of natural order was meant to be between bowler and batsman who bats with a straight bat. :-) well done. nice piece.

Posted by Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on (May 19, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

Hahaha! Brilliant, subtle , undertone humor!

Posted by   on (May 19, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

Imagine if the Fosbury flop was banned or the "crouch" before a sprint, or the tumble turn is swimming. I could go on and on. Innovations that were skills in themselves and added to the sports in question. How much longer are we going to have to listen to the views of whinging luddites.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

Nice and hilarious...witful piece it is...

Posted by Faraz_q on (May 19, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

mann... that is one of the most witty pieces ive read in a long time, too good man too good.

Posted by addicted_to_chaos on (May 19, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

boring........................................................

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