Laws should change for switch-hitters
It is clear that there must be some serious tinkering of the Laws of the game if "switch-hitting" is to be permitted.
Indeed, dare I suggest that the MCC, the custodian of the Laws, might have acted a little too swiftly in permitting a batsman to change hands as Kevin Pietersen did at Chester-le-Street on Sunday because the implications are more far reaching than simply Kevin's shot.
It has been deemed legal for a batsman to change his hands in ALL cricket - playing defensively or positively - but consider this:
For the purposes of lbw, it has also been confirmed that the "handedness" of a batsman will be decided by the way he originally takes strike.
In Kevin's case, he is a right-hander, and his off stump will continue to be considered his off stump if he changes to left handed before the ball is bowled. That means he can be lbw to a delivery that pitches outside the off stump and hits him in line.
So, let me give you this scenario. Muttiah Muralitharan is bowling Sri Lanka to victory in a Test match with men around the bat, and the ball spinning sharply. Out goes a naturally right-handed batsman, who takes guard and assumes strike as a LEFT-hander.
The field is set accordingly and, crucially, his left-handed leg stump remains his leg stump when he then switches to right-handed. He would be able to kick away every ball Murali bowled at him with impunity because you can't be lbw to a ball that pitches outside the leg stump!
Bear in mind, also, that a bowler can quite legally opt not to deliver the ball should a batsman change his stance. Indeed, that would be my response to a batsman, and this would easily lead to a stalemate that the umpires would be powerless to prevent.
And how about time wasting? Constantly changing hands and forcing field changes could be a mighty effective tool for taking time out of a game you are losing.
If switch-hitting is to be permitted, it should only occur after the ball has actually been delivered. More difficult to play, I agree. Also, it needs to be made law that once a batsman switches hands, he can be lbw regardless of where the ball pitches.
Also, in one-day cricket the wide law needs to be revised so both sides of the wicket are treated as the off side. These laws have to be changed otherwise, despite all the understandable excitement over a remarkable new stroke, it could create all manner of problems.