Thursday, 26 April 2012

Switch Hit- Should it be legal or not?

Mumbai Indians secured a thrilling last over victory against Kings XI Punjab yesterday at Mohali. 27 runs were scored off the penultimate Piyush Chawla over where Robin Peterson switch hit Chawla for fours and sixes. The Switch Hit where the batsman turns around to switch sides has been a controversial topic ever since it was played in international cricket.

The Switch hit was probably introduced by Kevin Pietersen around 2006-07 and he has been the one who plays it regularly. But following him many batsmen are now playing the stroke to hit boundaries. So is it legal for a batsman to switch sides and become a different handed batsman?

While there is no clear law in cricket regarding the switch hit so maybe there should not be any fuss regarding this shot. But I have some problems with the switch hit. Let us consider a right handed batsman who is a very good leg side player but not so brilliant as an off side player. The opposition captain tells his bowlers to bowl an off side line to prevent him from hitting boundaries. The batsman finds himself unable to hit boundaries. So he suddenly switches to a left handed batsman, finds the off side pitched ball onto his legs and thus easily puts the ball over the ropes. In such a scenario what can an opposition team do?  Obviously you can't set fields for a switch hit.

Now consider another scenario. A right arm bowler is bowling to a batsman who does n't like left armers and is better off playing right arm bowlers. The right arm bowler suddenly puts the ball in his left hand and dismisses the batsman. But this is not allowed in cricket. A bowler has to mention which arm he will use to bowl to the umpire before the over. But the batsman is not required to tell whether he will bat right handed or left handed. Thus a batsman can switch sides whenever he wants but the bowler cannot do so. Is n't it a tad unfair? A bowler develops a new kind of delivery but he is greeted with suspicion where his action is monitored and he is not allowed to bend his arm more than 15 degrees. But the batsman has the freedom to turn around or hit the ball any way he wants.

The game is already becoming more and more of a batsman's game. And shots like switch hit contribute in making a bowler even more helpless. Cricket becomes a battle between batsmen not teams.

In my opinion switch hit should be legal as long as the batsman does n't change his grip. After that even if the batsman switches his side it will rather look like a reverse sweep. Atleast the batsman's hands would be crossed and he would n't be able to free his arms and hit the ball as hard as he can when he changes his grip too.

Changing the grip should be made illegal or else allow even the bowlers to change their bowling hand whenever they want.

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