Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Pietersen's switch-hit: bad form or just brilliant?

The MCC has ratified Kevin Pietersen's switch-hit – a shot which enabled him to hit two fantastic sixes - but debate still rages within the game over its legality.

Even if the Laws of Cricket do not ban such a shot, questions have been raised as to whether it complies with the spirit of the game. It has been compared to a bowler switching bowling hands just before a delivery, but surely, such individuality and enterprise can only be good for the game?

Cricket does not want to be seen as regressive and stifling of progress, so the ICC will do well to quash the planned review of the switch-hit. Few batsmen will be able to pull off such a shot, and Pietersen's incredible ability allowed him to not only execute it perfectly, but also pick up two maximums in the process.

Scott Styris was the bowler left red-faced, but he could only praise Pietersen, "Sometimes you've just got to take your hat off and say 'well played'. We all admire good cricket and that's what it was. I don't view it in any other light, I don't believe it's against the spirit of the game or anything."

And it is not just natural talent that enabled the self-assured 27-year-old to succeed in such an audacious shot. Pietersen admitted he has "spent many hours in the nets working on it" - and why should that go to waste?

It is fitting that Pietersen, a player who loves to ignore age-old traditions of cricket, should be the one who leads the game forward and his ingenious shot, rather than being treated with cynicism, ought to be cherished.


Chrispy said...

I think it is a rather silly debate. Are we going to stop batsmen coming down the wicket and turning good length balls into half volleys? Are we going to tell Murali that he can't bowl his googly, "I was expecting an off spinner"? Are we going to tell bowlers that they can only bowl the ball swinging one way, "I thought Hoggy was swinging it away from me, not into me"? Will slower balls be banned? Will Styris be told to stop bowling second rate off spinners when he is supposedly bowling seam up? Doesn't appear so. It is beyond ridiculous. If you are a good enough bowler you readjust if you see the batsmen alter his stance, as they do when they bang it in short as they advance. Better yet, you bowl fast enough so that he can't do it, or you get a yorker in as you should do at the death. It is not at all impossible to counter. And the second of Styris' balls yesterday was pitched outside leg stump and had KP not changed his stance it would have been a wide anyway!

And if it wasn't for KP's immense talent we wouldn't be having this debate, it isn't as though every Tom, Dick and Harry is reverse slogging it over what was mid-off for six! It takes a high dose of courage and a lot of skill. There is next to no time to alter your stance after the ball has been bowled and successfully club the ball for six. It is an outrageous shot and that is why you rarely see it. He could quite easily get out next time and look rather silly. High risk = high reward and it is entertainment at it's best.

River Taff End said...

Absolutely got it in one.

Richard Lake said...

It's a rare occasion when Mike Atherton talks rubbish and Bob Willis makes sense. It's a fantastic shot, and the arguments about leg and off side for wides and lbw are already covered by the laws.

I see a boom time for bowlers everywhere as batsmen around the country try to do the same thing and realise just how difficult it is!

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