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

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7 responses to “Pieterson’s switch hitting repercussions

  1. Srikanth Mangalam

    If I am not mistaken, Krish Srikkanth has played similiar strokes in the past. The world cup game against New Zealand comes to mind.

  2. The closest that a bowler does a “Pietersen” is to bowl with the wrong foot like Sohail Tanvir or (the late) Lala Amarnath

  3. I think the rule should be that the batsman guard is the one he use at the start of the bowlers run up.

    If he then changes hand then it is nothing other than a movement such coming down the wicket or stepping away to square leg etc

    Personally I think its a dumb idea that real batsmen don’t need to do. As Shaun Marsh said after IPL. He got the runs playing conventional shots. If players do as a bit of fun or a shock tactic then OK .

  4. It is all about nothing!
    The ball is in play the moment the bowler starts his or her run up–the stance the batsman is at that moment is the position that decides leg stump and off stump

    It is a little bit extra work and concentration for the umpires in deciding LBW

    Bowler can bowl right or left but has to notify the umpire whether he is bowling over the stump or around the stump-then the umpire passes this message to the batsman

    As cricket is predominantly a batsman’s game, most of the rules favour the batsmen and too many restrictions on the bowler

    If we want equal rights, then the bowler should be allowed to bowl over or around and right or left arm without morse coding through the umpire to the batsman

    England lost a world cup to Australia in India when M Gatting reverse stroked and lost his wicket–turning point from winning position to giving victory to Alan Border’s Australians

  5. as rightly pointed out by govinda, the ball is in play when the bowler starts his run up.. that is why the concept of dead ball…

    the batsman is innovating when he changes his grip, and with that the batsman loses a few crucial seconds which can be used by a smart bowler.

  6. That is talent…and there should be some rules which ALLOW IT!!!

  7. The decision has been made that batsmen should be aloowed to play this way and I totally agree. With regards to LBW etc, I also agree with whats been said here – the batsman should be judged according to the stance he takes when the bowler starts his run up. Cricket has to be a spectator sport in order to benefit from the sponsorship. The majority of spectators want excitement and to see runs being scored and therefore cricket has to move with the times. It might upset some of the purists but they won’t keep the game going.

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