Daily Archives: 17 June 2008

Pieterson’s switch hitting repercussions

In the last ODI that England played against NZ Kevin Pieterson hit 2 shots by changing his batting grip and stance as the bowler was running in to bowl. I was reminded of an old photograph of Asif Iqbal doing this nearly 30 years ago. I do not remember if it was the reverse sweep with the typical right hander’s grip or if he had done what Pieterson has just done. It is an innovation and the rulers of world cricket do not know how to handle the situation.

1. Bowlers give guard that they bowl right/left handed, over/round the wicket. Batsmen are not required to give guard. Or should they also.

2. Why should batsmen give guard? For two important reasons. Umpires need to decide on whether the ball is outside the off stump or the leg stump to judge a wide. With a right hander’s grip, the ball would be called a wide. But with a left hander’s grip is it not outside the off stump? Or as Daniel Vettorei just said in an interview reported in Cricinfo – Should they mark wide lines on both sides of the wicket and treat the balls down the leg side similarly? The second reason is for adjudging a batsman LBW, will the ball be treated as pitching outside the off stump if the batsman changes his grip. Afterall a batsman cannot be given out if the ball pitches outside the leg stump. But then the leg stump is for the right handed batsman. And what is the criteria to show if a batsman is left or right hadned? The grip of course! So if the grip changes then the rules for LBW/wides should also change.

3. Now coming to the bowlers. Frankly it does not make sense for a bowler to give guard for bowling left/right. As far as the batsman are concerned atleast issues of lbw and wides come into play. Nohing like that for the bowlers. So can a bowler not bowl with either of his hands?

— Sanjay