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Laws should change for switch-hitters

Jonathan Agnew | 19:06 UK time, Wednesday, 18 June 2008

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:

Kevin Pietersen plays a left-handed shot at Chester-le-StreetFor 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.


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  • Comment number 1.

    While I can't disagree with any of the points that Aggers makes, i think he has overlooked one important thing. How many people currently playing first class cricket would be capable of switch hitting the way that KP does. Brendon McCullum springs to mind as one who could possibly do it but off the top of my head i can't think of anyone else capable of doing the shot.

  • Comment number 2.

    Humbleness said: "How many people currently playing first class cricket would be capable of switch hitting the way that KP does."

    But not every batsman has to. What's to say that every batsmen will try and hit the ball out of the ground? How would people feel watching a game where batsmen simply switch stances and nudge singles 3 or 4 times an over?

    I think as sure as eggs are eggs this tactic, if used on a regular basis by batsmen, will cause many moments of "well, they didn't see that happening when they legalised it", during games.

    I think it will be a mistake and is players push this tactic to the limit, people will look back and lament its legalisation.

  • Comment number 3.

    I never thought that I would ever hear Jonathan, or indeed anyone, say that 'the MCC might have acted a little too swiftly'. It's incredible what KP has created here, a new shot. No other batsman has done it, not Bradman, Tendulkar or Lara so lets just watch and enjoy the creative skills and flair of a wonderful cricketer. Did we change the LBW law when Murali or Warne turned the ball more than anyone else?

  • Comment number 4.

    You cant expect the batsman to change his position after the ball has been bowled. Maybe saying he cannot change hands until after the bowler has passed the umpire in his run up would be a better rule. This would make sure the bowler had time to adjust his delivery, and that the batsman would be taking a genuine risk when playing the shot.

  • Comment number 5.

    mal loye was playing the stroke in a T20 match the other day - and i am sure plenty of batsman are capable of changing thier stance or grip in this way.

    in the past, many batsman who reverse sweep change their hands as well, so it is not strictly a new stroke pietersen has invented.

    i think the wide rule in one day games is the rule that needs to be changed as soon as possible; if the batsman is going to move around in his crease in this way then the bowler should be allowed more leeway as to where he can bowl.

  • Comment number 6.

    the shot must be allowed.

    the good old days of playing cricket and stopping for crumpet and tea are now all over. cricket is now a professional sport and a commercial enterprise. the old tie-wearing upper lip gentleman at MCA clearly must be shown the door or just put to sleep for their constant infringement on the game.
    If Pieterson can play the shot successfully repeatedly it is not unfair. it simply means he is very skilled. Besides, he is still technically a right handed batsmen who is playing a reverse shot.
    the MCA can call the shot whatever they like but they should not be allowed to interfere in the game anymore.
    I simply call for them to be shown the door gracefully at first.

    People should not take these upper lip tie wearing, crumpet eating MCA people very seriously as they are out of touch with reality.

    also, i heard that some aussies were trying to get involved in this a while ago. the thing with aussies is they always seem to give their opinions when not needed or asked for.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm sorry 'snelly 1986' (8.09pm), but I disagree with you. Firstly, I watched Mushtaq Mohammed first play the reverse sweep in the '60's and 70's in benefit and other matches. No rule change when he and others then adopted it in First Class games.

    Secondly, why not also ban bowlers trying to deceive batsmen when running in to bowl covering the ball with their hands so the batsman can't see what they're doing, or bowling 3 types of slower balls? That is a bowler trying to do something different but legal, and so is what KP and others are trying to do. There is nothing underhand about this, unlike Trevor Chappell's infamous delivery that was correctly outlawed from the game.

  • Comment number 8.

    I have to say about Jonathan's scenario about taking guard against Murali - what a good idea! Seriously, though, KP's shot should be allowed. I agree with Nasser Hussain's view on this - the MCC were right to back innovation and right to observe the risk involved. There is no artificial aid like an aluminium bat involved so why should his talent be penalised? It's like telling Tiger Woods he is only allowed to drive 250 yards because no one else can match him.

  • Comment number 9.

    If you look at Mal Loye playing the shot he doesn't switch his hands at all. Unlike KP who plays the shot as a left-hander would, Mal Loye kept his hands positioned as a right-hander and just turned the blade. This tactic is often used in a reverse-sweep.
    Does this mean he has played a different shot ? and should this shot be treated differently ?
    Does anyone remember the wide-open stance that Peter Willey used ?
    If you just take this a little further and stand facing the bowler in a completely neutral off/leg stance, then how does the umpire determine which is the off-side ?
    Does the batsman have to declare this to the bowler prior to the delivery ?

  • Comment number 10.

    You write as if this will become an every day shot, there is incredible risk in the shot, when you have to change bat so quickly with big bulky gloves on, you are risk of all sorts of extra problems from the very basic one of making sure you don't drop the bat!

    As for the defensive aspect, if it did become a regular occurance then I'm sure the bowlers would soon work out a strategy to combat this, fire as wide as possible down the left handed off-side, bowl wicket to wicket, bowl yorkers etc...

    In any event no batsman it going to make it far more difficult the play a shot by batting with the wrong hand regularly, as a one off to break a bowling teams stranglehold possibly but not regularly...

  • Comment number 11.

    The MCC have (rightly) recognised the fact that the KP left-handed "sweep" is a risky shot. As such, they have asserted (rightly) that it adds a boldness to what can often be a dreary procession of "classified" strokes played with no intention of scoring runs.

    As for the no-ball and LBW issues, perhaps the simplest thing would be to apply the rules as if the batsman had not changed hands. That would add, in my opinion to the risk and consequently the excitement.

  • Comment number 12.

    It seems to me that the comments against the shot can all be addressed with detail. It is only the audacity of the recent ^'s that has highlighted a shot that has been played (including the switching of hands) for several years. Kanhai I think was the first exponent.

    I have this fundamental problem with the rule changes. As far as I understand the situation due to the freakish skeletal structure of Murali the rules of bowling were 'clarified' to accept a degree of straightening of the arm of up to 15 degrees.

    A straight armed delivery has not been a problem fro the other 99.5% of bowlers that have played over the years and a bent arm is easily spotted by a square leg umpire without need for technology.

    This clarification has now led, I believe to legitimate (straight armed) spin bowlers being coached to straighten their arm, within the new guidelines, in order to maximise the rotations and/or develop the doosra.

    KP's shot was one of complete arrogance and skill, anyone that tries to emulate it risking the humiliation that will probably accompany failure will only bring interest to the game.

    The rule makers will have fun modeling the rules but this should be to determine what the stance is at what time etc fro purposes of wides and LBW's etc.

    If Murali hadn't already become a worldwide recognised bowler would the 'clarification' have been so accommodating?

  • Comment number 13.

    I have seen KP's shot and he actually doesnt change hands until the bowler has almost completed his run up, so in his instance i dont think its that big a deal. I just dont want batsmen playing as a lefty when they are right handed (or the other way around) because then it would be have to forced out of the game which is a shame, when you all talk about KP shot the next day.

  • Comment number 14.

    If the batsmen is brave enough to try this maneuver he should be allowed. Very few batsmen are capable of doing this and KP is risking getting out to do this shot.

    Furthermore if a player comes out and plays left handed, he is only going to get away with that if he is a brand new player never seen before otherwise, the captain will realise what he is doing and keep a right hander field. The captain is going to have heard of this player and therefore not be fooled by this scenario.

    But what about today's 2nd ODI everyone new the weather was risky so to take a half an hour switch over is ludicrous, a little thing called common sense could an should have been used today!!

  • Comment number 15.


    Cricket is dead.

  • Comment number 16.

    At the end of the day, a bowler must declare while hand he is going to bowl from before the delivery, so why no the batsman? It may be skilled, but I bet a bowler or 2 could develop a way to disguige the hand from which they bowl until the last minute, if it were legal. It is not, and so therefore allowing "switch-hitting" is creating a double standard.

    That said, I would change the bowling rule and allow both, we are looking to make the game more exciting etc after all!

  • Comment number 17.

    Kevin Pietersen?

    Simon Cowell in whites.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think most of the problems here could be solved by requiring the batsman to maintain the same "handedness" (as far as the laws are concerned) for the whole over and requiring that if he wants that handedness to change, he declare so to the umpire at the beginning of the over. That way, batsmen could not waste time by changing the field settings every ball and the bowler would know which side is considered off-side each ball. The batsman should simply incur the risk that he can be given LBW to a ball that pitches outside what is his leg stump after he has changed his stance and he also takes on the risk that he can't play a shot because it's too far down his leg side, with no wide being called. As long as the batsman takes on the risks, I don't see a problem with allowing the stance change.

    I don't think the bowler should be allowed to abort every delivery, just because the batman has changed his stance. I would consider this time-wasting on the part of the bowler.

  • Comment number 19.

    "If switch-hitting is to be permitted, it should only occur after the ball has actually been delivered. More difficult to play, I agree."

    This was the tactic and attacking spirit that Pietersen played his 2 switch strokes.

    We are talking of switch stokes, not switch guards. ie the bowler is committed to delivering/has delivered.

  • Comment number 20.

    Why rant about rule changes to combat things that players aren't currently doing? Pietersen only did it twice in one match and they were offensive shots that were hit for six. He was obviously taking a risk going for those hits, he pulled it off. If batsmen really start going out, adopting an opposite stance and then switching back in order to block out ball after ball after ball on technicalities and thus obtain draws in test matches then a rule change is needed. But any player that really did that and any team that encouraged such play would be behaving in an astonishingly unsporting way and it's hard to see that it will really ever occur. Switch hitting as it is currently used is not a problem, a rule change is not needed at all at this time, it's not something to worry about.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't know what all the fuss is about this shot. It is not a new shot that Kevin made up a week ago.

    For instance Matt Priot used it several times in last years World Cup. But there was no hype about whether it was illegal. So why now has the debate been sparked into life?

  • Comment number 22.

    The reaction from the ex-players turned journalists seems completely blown out of all proportion to me! It strikes me of stuffiness and with hints of jealousy.

    I congratulate KP on both his ability to do such an incredible thing and his audaciousness to attempt it. I think Aggers example of purposefully batting left handed to avoid an LBW is utterly absurd. You don't see KP playing every ball left handed. Because he can't, he knows he can't and if he did try, he would be out bowled or caught pretty quick!

    I read one comparison to Ronnie O'Sullivan playing snooker with both hands which seems a decent comparison. He gains advantages by not having to play with a rest for certain shots. Other snooker players accept admire his skill. I also read an article involving Brett Lee, which hit the nail on the head. Should a 90+ mph bowler have to state that the slower ball is about to be bowled before doing it? Should Murali have to prepare his target for the Doosra? Of course not! How is switching to playing in the alternate hand be seen as an advantage to the batsman? He is taking a massive risk!

    Aggers (any any other criticizers), get off your Bowlers pedestal and applaud sporting entrepreneurial skill for what it is. Talent and unbelievable ability.

  • Comment number 23.

    I need to double check this, but I am under the impression that for the purposes of LBW shouts, the laws of the game state that the off and leg sides of the field are set at the point the bowler begins his run up. I also believe the same is true of the ODI wide rule. Consequently, the bowler is entitled to fire the ball far enough down the "offside" to be out of reach but close enough to the stumps not to be called.

    As for Agger's nightmare scenario of a bowler causing havoc and winning the game for his team, only for a batsmen to start taking guard the opposite way around to how they normally would... How about forcing a batsman to take a guard which is consistent with their professional player profile. For instance, Pietersen is listed as right hand bat - for the delivery to be legal, how about forcing Pietersen to adopt a right handed guard as the bowler begins their run up? That would stop a batsman aodpting the opposite guard to their normal one before switching back just prior to delivery.

  • Comment number 24.

    Is this debate seriously still going on!!! It's a boring game at the best of times and when someones does something to lighten it up you condem him for it....get over it otherwise your game will die a death as youngsters move towards football or rugby.

  • Comment number 25.

    The proper response of a bowler to a switch-hitter is to bowl bean balls.

  • Comment number 26.

    With respect to comment 22 and others.

    Using the example of bowlers using different deliveries to out-fox a batsman is a poor analogy.

    The issue some are having with Pietersen's switch hit is he is effectively batting as a left hander when he makes contact with the ball. But suppose he doesn't make contact and gets hit plumb in front of middle stump? For a right (left) handed bowler coming over (around) the stumps the ball will, most of the time, pitch outside off stump for a right handed batsman, depending on factors such as swing, line and length. However, this is leg stump for a left handed batsman and in such a scenario the batsman cannot be given out LBW. As mentioned, at the point of contact, Pietersen would be in a position identical to that of a left hander going for a slog sweep over the leg side. For the purposes of LBW, wides and the like, is Pietersen a right hander or a left hander? Which is off stump, which is leg stump? If there are two slips and a gully when the batsman switches, do they count as three players inside the circle on the leg side, making the delivery illegal?

    No such considerations are necessary for a Brett Lee bowling a slower ball or a Murali bowling a Doosra.

  • Comment number 27.

    In all seriousness, Lateralis, just how likely is the scenario you and Aggers put forward? I suspect that the other comment you made, regarding Offside/Legside being deemed at start of run up, the umpire would make the sensible decision anyway.

    I don't think my analogy is altogether that poor, as it was used to emphasize ingenuity in an individual. Something to be heralded, not derided for being "against the laws of the game".

  • Comment number 28.

    The MCC's statement that the leg and off sides are determined by the batsmen's original stance also means that a right-handed opener could, for example, take a left-handed stance at the start of the bowler's run up in order to limit the amount of slips he is faced with when taking on the new ball.

    Even if the fielding team knew he was going to switch back to his normal right-handed stance and tried to set a field accordingly, they could not place more than two men in the slip cordon because that would actually count as having more than two men behind square on the original leg-side.

    There is farce coming on somewhere.

  • Comment number 29.

    First time I've ever agreed completely with Aggers. The point, which many rabid KP-defending poms seem to miss entirely, is that allowing switch-hitting introduces innumerable possible complications to the game, some of which (as Agnew illustrates) would definitely not be cricket. Get it straight: its not about KP, or "his" shot - its about the greater possible effects of allowing a change of stance.
    Personally i think Agnew's suggestions for revising the rules are eminently sensible, and for the MCC to ignore it is doing a disservice to the game.

  • Comment number 30.

    The one law that is obviously in need of a review is lbw.

    Why is it ok for a rh batsman to stick out a pad at a leg break, regardless of it's destination, but be held to account for an off break that may hit the stumps? This has baffled me for years.... and has been exposed as a careless law by KP.

    As far as the KP hit goes - It seems to me that very few players have the capabilty of pulling it oiff - but it does make field setting more interesting!


  • Comment number 31.

    I really think all you folks out there must be bonkers and possibly never batted before, especially Aggers. Have all of you forgotten HOW difficult it is to bat, the concentration and skill required and the fact of ONLY having one (1) chance and you are OUT. If someone is capable of switch hitting, IT should be encouraged not discouraged. You people must be the ones who slog or think they know cricket. Good god, the finesse and technique required at all times when batting and to read what you idiots say and not appreciate how difficult it is to do what he's done is almost painful!!

  • Comment number 32.

    The Laws of Cricket are clear:
    Law 23: 4. Ball ceases to be dead
    The ball ceases to be dead - that is, it comes into play - when the bowler starts his run up or, if he has no run up, his bowling action.

    Law 36: 3. Off side of wicket
    The off side of the striker's wicket shall be determined by the striker's stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery.

    If the bowler starts his run-up with the batsman in a RH stance, then no matter what the batsman does after that, he is a RH bat for the purpose of the LBW law.

  • Comment number 33.

    Of course a bowler can also shorten his run up...

    ..bowl a "dart" and pin the batsman in front of all 3 halfway through trying to change hands...


    However, I appreciated the argument; possibly removing the "pitched outside leg stump" exclusion to the LBS law in the event of the batsman changing from left to right handed (or vice versa) may have merit.

  • Comment number 34.

    1) Would anyone have even brought this up if KP had been bowled or caught the first time he tried it?

    2) Does anyone stop bowlers from playing extreme slower balls or balls that spin the complete other direction?

    3) Laws in sport should only be changed when a substantial proportion of playing members are gaining a huge advantage by performing the action in question (otherwise it is just adapting to the game with innovation and talent) - and in this situation, it has worked twice in 1 match, for 1 player

  • Comment number 35.

    I think Jonathan makes a good suggestion, when he requires that a switch-hitter switch only after the delivery. But actually I think this takes an advantage away from the bowler. Let the fellow pull his prank, for God's sake. Let him pull it when he feels like pulling it--without having to declare his intention like a mewling schoolboy. (Please, everyone, let's stop talking about 'what a great shot' when we don't really mean it. It is a circus shot. KP has some truly great shots, including the flamingo hoik to midwicket, and the classic cover drive. Let's not water this down, just because he can club a slow medium-pacer where he feels like it.) But the violation is severe. 'Leg' and 'Off' are features of the ground, the game, and the laws, not just a batsman's whim. So if a batsman wants to take the risk, fine; let him face the risks. If you switch your 'orientation', and swing both ways, the bowler can pull out without penalty. And if he chooses to deliver, the wide line extends to the edge of the crease in both directions. And an LBW can come from anywhere. Better not miss, jackass.

  • Comment number 36.

    people who suggest that a bowler should be able to cease his run up seem to fail to see the consequences of certain situations.

    What would be to happen if the bowler pulled out of the stroke just because he ASSUMED the batsman MIGHT change stances, but was wrong? No punishment? There's not really much you can do. Give a run (or runs) to the batting team? Not really because in certain matches that won't matter when the bowler just wants to take a wicket to secure victory.

    allowing this stroke is what should happen because it is amazing for cricket. Just look at the talk about it. Nobody has had this much to say about a cricket shot in decades. People will even go to England matches just on the chance of seeing it.

    And that's not the only reason to keep it. The fact it gives as many advantages as disadvantages is the main reason to keep it as far as the game its self goes.

  • Comment number 37.

    ..the interpretation of the LBW law was changed a few years ago...

    assuming a ball hitting the pad on the full will go straight on..

    absolute nonsense - (especially when the ball is moving or turning) giving a benefit to what is in effect a bowler bowling a poor delivery...

    A minor reinterpretation re switch hitting would seem to be reasonable and in the spirit of the game (unlike the full toss LBW stupidity)

  • Comment number 38.

    In Aggers scenario of a natural RH batsman taking guard LH to avoid LBW and make playing off spin easier I would suggest the bolwer do the following. Change to round the wicket at bowl arm balls from wide on the crease. The ball should aim to pitch outside the LH off and hit the stumps. Most off spiners (i hope myself included) could do this without a 'doosra'. If the batsman switches hands he has to play a ball coming out his blind spot (very difficult) and if it hits his pads he will be out LBW. If he stays in the LH stance he is left playing at balls from his weaker position. If the batman is good enough to do this- good luck to him.

  • Comment number 39.

    If the MCC has ruled this legal, why are we still debating it? The MCC has already said that they are going to examine what revision of the laws is necessary.

    However, the point that is being missed is that 99.9% of batsmen cannot play the stroke (witness what Graeme Swann said about his and Ravi Bopara's efforts to do it in the nets) and when they do, the most likely result is that they will lose their wicket and look a complete idiot.

    Kevin Pietersen has played the shot exactly twice in three matches in this series of limited overs matches. It hardly looks like a plague of attempts to play the shot. And, what's more, it has to be premeditated and the bowler can always stop in his run-up if he so wishes, or change his line and length: if the ball isn't where the batsman expects, the shot isn't going to come off.

    Some of the scenarios suggested this morning (e.g. a stale-mate between a bowler who refuses to deliver and a batsman who refuses not to switch) were only realistic if the umpire has been carried off gibbering in a strait-jacket first. The umpire is the final arbiter of fair play and can step in, when required if he feels that things are being taken too far.

  • Comment number 40.

    Aggers you are out of touch with the modern game! Cricket needs to progress to make it more exciting for the modern viewer.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think that Styris's reaction ought to be factored into this debate. He admitted that what KP did was pretty extraordinary and worthy of congratulation. For a seasoned pro like Styris to make the comments that he did, it suggests that KP's shots were unusual - to say the least. I agree with the arguments that Aggers puts forward regarding potential cynical manipulation of the laws but I find it hard to see a situation developing where such deliberate flouting of the laws is actually shown simply because so few batsmen are capable of doing what KP did. Any international bowler worth his salt would be delighted at such cavalier behaviour from a batsman. Can you imagine Fred Trueman turning nhis back on the opportunity to pick up a cheap wicket?

    I love the game of cricket - it's why I get out of bed of a morning. BUT it's got to be allowed to develop. Once any sport ceases to be organic there's only one future for it - and I don't want to lie in bed all day every day for the rest of my days. Rather than outlaw KP's shot, alter the laws, sensibly, to accommodate it.

  • Comment number 42.

    It is important to keep a balance bewtween batsman and bowler:-

    A bowler can opt to change the ball he delivers just like he would if he sees the batsman advancing down the pitch to him.
    I can only see this causing the bowler to adapt too! providing more exceitment all round.
    It was poor from Styris - especially the second time around! Such bowling deserves to be hit any which way.
    But as I said
    It is important to keep a balance bewtween batsman and bowler:-

    Maybe we are ready to consider lbw from wherever the ball pitches?!, should it be going on to the stumps of course. I've seen a little known Australian prove that the ball is more than capable of hitting the stumps from these areas!! - should the more descerning batsmen be allowed to pad these gems away all day? You can be more certain that these balls would hit the stumps than a ball that hits the pads on the full, in line, but we haven't had the chance to see how it would pitch!

    One thing is for sure - you can't limit a batsmans foot work!!

    Where would you set a limit for movement of the batsmans feet? A little bit? or a little bit more? No longer allowed to chage down the pitch?

  • Comment number 43.

    For what it's worth, in baseball the interpretation of the rules is that the switch hitter can not change sides after the pitcher has taken his position or begun his wind up. They can switch between pitches - but it would be surprising as normally there would be no advantage in doing so unless there was a change of pitcher. By the way, the probability of a batter (as they call them) hitting anything is pretty low, switch hitter or not - the game certainly has dull stretches to rival cricket. However, this is compensated for by the delivery of beer directly to the spectator's seat.

  • Comment number 44.

    tried to work out agnew's Murali lBW scenario and despite several re-reads don't get the point at all. If a batsman changes hands late - like pieterson.. then in effect it will mean batsman can be out with the ball pitching outside leg stump (to his new stance).. a huge advantage to the bowler and a scenario that someone like murali would thrive on. Bowler would just fire it in and batsman has to play around his pads - misses one and is out! No way could it be used a s a defensive tactic in test cricket. A batsman might be able to play a few suprise attacking shots but used in defence would be suicide.
    Does the license fee money really go to paying deep cricket thinkers like Mr Agnew!

  • Comment number 45.

    It is certainly true that ambidextrous batting makes a mockery of the LBW rule and the tradition of maintaining less leeway for wides on the leg-side than on the off-side.

    But those are stupid rules/traditions anyway. Rather than deciding whether Pietersen's "new shot" (though actually there is nothing new about it) is legal, the powers that be should take the opportunity to make the rules of the game more sensible.

    What is wrong with a ball that pitches outside leg stump? Why shouldn't you be LBW to it if it was going to hit the stumps but for you putting your leg in the way? The current rule is absurd. It discriminates against leg-spinners, it discourages bowlers from using the bowling crease creatively, and it encourages dull cricket.

    Likewise the standard ("ODI") interpretation of the wides rule is daft. Wides are supposed to be about what the batsman can sensibly reach and what he can't. So really, since the batsman stands one side of the wicket, the widest legal ball on the leg-side should be wider than the widest legal ball on the off-side. Certainly it shouldn't be any less wide.

  • Comment number 46.

    Most people here miss the point completely. The grey area with this shot is in regards to LBW decisions and what is or becomes leg and off stump. Clarity is needed on this occasion so if the shot is allowed then every umpire knows and understands the legal ruling and can make correct decisions in the event of possible wicket or sundry.

    I'm sick of people stating that we must allow improvisation and such or just becasue he can he should or bowlers can bowl slower bowls and must tell the batsmen (in which case the batsman should then state what type of shot he will play) and so on.

    Does this mean offsides should be allowed in football becasue a guy is talented enough to run faster than another player? or american football passes should be allowed in rugby as that could be classed as improvisation too.

  • Comment number 47.

    Aggers KP is a freak when it come to bat and hand position. If the rules were changed it would just open up a can of worms on various aspects of thre game. Leave them as thay are as other batsmen will not be able to what KP can do. KP for PM!

  • Comment number 48.

    Ronnie O'Sullivan can play snooker Left handed and Right handed. Tennis players can change their grip to the rackets during a course of a single rally. Left footed football player can switch and play between left and right side of the pitch......

    So why KP can not use either of his hands to hold the bat and hit a cricket ball?

    Remember Malcolm Marshall batting one handed (Can't remember which hand was hurt) against England and still scored runs..... No many people complainted about his grip to the bat.....

  • Comment number 49.

    In the entire exercise, I was appalled by MCC's readiness to alter LBW and Wide Ball rules just to accommodate what is arguably the most vulgar shots once would come across. My suspicion is MCC's haste to play to the gallery stems from a fear of redundancy. After all, it is as relevant to the game as UN is to America's foreigh policy.

    The plausible logic put forward by MCC eggheads was that the shot adds to entertainment. But then so does recreational drugs and I've Mohd Asif to vouch for that.

    Cricket is essentiallay a batsman-biased exercise agreed, but it's growingly becoming an obscene mismatch between the author-backed willowers vs no-hoper bowlers.

  • Comment number 50.

    Allow maximum 2 switch-hits/over. It will solve all your problems while allowing the likes of KP express themselves.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'd be much more impressed with KP's "genius," "supreme skill," and "pure talent" if he could demonstrate them on a consistent basis in Test matches as well as one-dayers. Didn't see much of it yesterday did we?
    It's a shame he didn't sky the first of his 'switch hitters' to the keeper and spare us all this over-hyped nonsense. Good batsmen can play scoring shots on the off side. If you want to watch "entertainers" instead of cricketers, try the circus, it's cheaper and you get more than one clown in the circle at a time.

  • Comment number 52.

    Will people get real. Its not just about Kevin Pietersen, nor about entertainment (it it were, we'd play the game with a wet tennis ball and a bat 30cm wide). Nor is the discussion primarily about banning the shot, but about the technicalities surrounding the fact that the rules differ between the off side and leg side, in terms of wides and lbws. I think that the MCC know this, and in allowing the shot to remain legal FOR NOW, allows them breathing space to clarify these issues with no change in the law (as the current law makes no comment of a batsman changing hands during delivery). IF the laws can be defined (as opposed to being altered) in such a way as to allow this shot, only then should the question of its legality (unfairness) or otherwise be discussed.

    To my mind, there are three choices, either define the off and leg sides depending on where the batsman takes guard, or define them at the moment the ball is delivered, or ban the switching shot altogether. Making the rules the same for off and leg is not a viable option e.g, currently if a batsman does not switch, a leg side wide in a ODI is actually close to the stumps. If you were to make the leg side wide the same distance from the stumps as an off side wide, we'd get a lot of low scoring ODIs!

    I would suggest that the sides are set as the batsman takes guard. Then, if a bowler sees a batsman try to switch, he can fire the ball down the batsmans (new) leg side, without fear of a wide being called as the batsman would have been able to make contact had he stayed in his original position, and knowling that a 'leg glance' will carry to short third man or slips. This solution works well in ODIs as batsmen who switch are essentally tempting a dot ball.

    In tests, however, the switch does create the opportunity for a batsman to change his off and leg side and negate a bowler by kicking the ball away, in the manner Aggers suggested. I think its down to the bowler then to change his line, or pace, and should be able to catch the batsman out. Remember that any player playing this shot in an attacking manner in a test match is likely to be out before too much of an advantage has been gained.

    Realistically, if a bowler is watching for the shot, much like if he is watching to see if a player takes two strides down the pitch before the ball is delivered, he should have the skill to negate the shot and make the entire discussion meaningless.

  • Comment number 53.

    For goodness sake, the fact that most batsman can't play this stroke isn't cause to ignore the issue. Years ago, the fact the no-one made aluminium bats meant that there wasn't a specifc law banning them. Someone made one, one person tried to use it, they were banned. The game moves on, the laws have to follow it. You can't not ban something simply because most people can't do it anyway. If its against the laws/spirit of the game, then its against the laws/spirit, however many people can or can't actually do it.

  • Comment number 54.

    I think it's a great shot but very risky. It should definitely be allowed. If you want some legislation, how about this:

    You can do it at maximum once or twice an over. Bowlers are limited in the number of bouncers they can bowl. Batsmen are limited in the number of switch hits they can take on.

    This seems fair to me and stops the so-called nightmare taking guard as a lefty,playing as a righty scenario that everyone is worried about, and also allows players who are skilled enough to take on an exciting and risky shot.

    Oh - and for lbw or whatever, your leg stump is the one you take guard with.

  • Comment number 55.

    Seems fairly simple to me.

    Every batsman is declared as right or left handed. Make that the stance they HAVE to adopt at the start of the bowler's run-up. This then determines off and leg-side for the purpose of LBW etc.

    Since bowlers have shown the ability to react to batsmen coming down the pitch, backing away to allow room, or generally dancing about at the wicket, they ought to be able to react to this as well. After all, a yorker fired in at the original off stump seems a pretty effective counter to me, and is perhaps easier to perform than succesful 'switch hitting'.

    Failing that, just bowl it outside original off, and watch them fail to hit it. Anyone that sees a batsman switch hands, and still bowls a good length ball at middle and off should expect to be whacked to the boundary.

  • Comment number 56.

    I agree this shot is on the threshold of what's acceptable. But until the bowlers complain I don't think the laws need to be analysed or assessed. Everyone is stating how it's a disadvantage to the fielding team but most bowlers are welcoming the shot as they know it's a wicket taking opportunity. I suggest to everyone complaining: get some pads on, ask your friend to bowl a nice floated ball and try the switch shot, then you'll get a feel for how a batsman can potentially disadvantage themselves. Agnew, Pad up or shut up!

  • Comment number 57.

    I don't agree that Pietersen would remain the only player capable of this shot for long. Other batsmen will practice it and soon many will be doing it, with varying degrees of success. Good luck to them, I say.

    If the only objection is the difficulty of applying the lbw law, then perhaps this will usher in a much needed rationalisation that ignores where the ball pitches and reverts to the simpler "if the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps..." criterion.

  • Comment number 58.

    As far as I am aware the WPBSA haven't banned Ronnie O'Sullivan from playing left handed. Let talent flourish, don't knock it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Wow Aggers - making a right mountain out of a molehill here aren't we? All it needs is a tweak to the lbw law to say that the off stump is determined by the stance taken by the player as the ball is delivered, so off stump can change if the batsman switches. As an umpire with many years experience I can safely say I could make the switch quicker than the batsman. Time wasting is already covered in the laws and this would also cover any 'stalemate' you refer to so that's a straw man argument you make. As for the scenario with Murali, well even under the existing laws I would give any switching batsman out if he kicked the ball away, not because of where the ball pitched but because any batsman who feels the need to try switching must be an insufferable smartarse, and that would be good enough for me.

  • Comment number 60.

    From memory (30+ years since I played) the bottom hand has additional thumb protection. When switching this is not the case, therefore doesn't the batsman leave themself open to serious injury to the opposing (not as well protected) thumb.

    Sorry if gloves have totally changed and now both thumbs have equal protection.

  • Comment number 61.


    Well done on your article. The debate that KP's shot has sparked has caused an amazing amount of debate - which is surprising since this is not the first time that a player has switched both stance and grip.

    I am fully supportive of the batsman's right to move his feet, hands, bat and body in any way he feels fit. The issue comes when a right handed batsman takes guard left-handed and then switches to right-handed without ever having had an interest in playing left-handed. Clearly he is attempting to pervert the laws in his own interest.

    Your Muralitheran scenario is a good example of this, but there are others too. I know a chap, a right-handed bat, who is extremely adept at scoring runs behind square on the off-side. If he, for example, took guard left handed and then switched, he would limit the number of fielders in his favoured area to just two!

    With all the debate that has gone on in the last few days I would be very surprised indeed if noone tried to test this in the middle, either in the professional or amateur game.

    Another question that may need to be answered concerns the rights of the bowler and the rights of the batsman. The bowler has the right to choose which side of the wicket to bowl and the batsman has the right to take guard left or right handed. but which right takes precidence. If an ambidextrous batsman comes to the crease and takes guard left handed the bowler may well notify the umpire that he wishes to bowl right-arm-round. On hearing this news does the batsman have the right to retake his guard right-handed?

  • Comment number 62.

    Would there be all this ridiculous fuss if KP got himself out every time he used the shot? Just get on with the blinking game and stop whingeing!

  • Comment number 63.

    This whole debate is becoming punishing. This shot it totally covered in the current laws. i.e. the leg side is determined by the batsmen stance at the start of the bowlers run up.

    This therefore covers all aspects of LBW and wides in any form of cricket.

    People are questioning that a batsmen may take guard and start stance on the weaker side in order to try and manipulate the field?!

    this is laughable for 2 reason. 1) the captain knows which is your stronger hand and will set a field accordingly much like he move the field around during your innings depending on your stronger shots.
    So won't be drawn in by batsmen taking guard the wrong way round.

    2) the batsmen when he switchs back to his stronger side esp if he is a LH would lose the comfort of not being out LBW if the ball is pitched outside leg. Reason? He started his stance as a right hander! So increasing his chances of getting out!

    People seem to forget that Pierterson wasn't trying to bat left handed! He just used the shot as a moose to score quick runs. Both shots only just creeped over the fielders head so he wasn' t even hitting it to where there were no fielders. Fielders were at deep point and long off (RH) so just switch this to deep sq leg and Long On (LF).

    And when facing MM in a test the batsmen have enough to think about without changing their stance half way through to go back to their stronger side! Then getting their feet and grip sorted out....oh dear i've just been bowled...

    I've yet to hear a genuine viable reason why any batsmen would want to do this in any form of cricket and how it could benefit the batsmen in a way that wouldn't leave him significanlty disadvantged.

  • Comment number 64.

    I quite agree with Agger's concern about 'switch hitting'.
    Should we also allow a bowler switching from bowling over to round the wicket then?

  • Comment number 65.

    AnanYarl.......Take one guess at why bowlers can't go from over to round the wicket without telling the umpire???

    There may be someone standing in the way perhaps?? Not unless we want to change the rules and allow 1 man batting stands.

    If not i'm all for allowing the bowler to bowl the ball with the non striker standing in the way!! should make for interesting viewing!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Seems to me that 'switch-hitting' is a little unfair on the bowlers, this could be balanced by saying the batsman is 'locked' as soon as the bowler starts his run up. If the batsman then elects to switch, then both ends of the wicket will function as an off-stump.

    The reason for this is that the off-stump offers more to the bowler:
    e.g. whilst in limited-overs cricket you cannot even bowl down the leg side, if both stumps were classed as off-stumps, then you could bowl as wide as the original off-stump at either side.
    Also, the ball would not have to pitch in line with either stump for the batsman to be given LBW; the same as with the off-side for a normal delivery.

    Whilst this is quite harsh on 'switch-hitters' it would still allow them to try this stroke, but would give the bowlers enough to stop it being unfair.

  • Comment number 67.

    Do people posting on hear play cricket? If you bat right handed have you ever tried switching and batting left handed or visa versa? It feels completely unnatural inveriably resulting in no contact with the ball and if any a thin nick or a looped catch.

    To the people complaining about field placing. Switch hitting would effectively make the off side field the leg side field and visa versa. This would reduce the number of slips allowed but would mean there would be no restrictions on the number of men behind square on the new 'leg' side. If anyone planned to switch against a quick bowler cue bodyline version 2. A batsman would have to be very brave...or stupid!

  • Comment number 68.

    You can invent ridiculous situations to point out the flaws in just about any cricket Law, or any other game come to that. Fact is, if a batsman repeatedly switched just so he could kick Murali's deliveries away with impunity it's difficult to see how he could maintain any concentration or build an innings. And given how many deliveries manage to sneak through a 'proper-handed' defensive shot with bat and pad together, he wouldn't last long anyway. That said, I think the 1/2 per over rule wouldn't be a bad idea.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think that in all fairness, the same opportunities should be given to the bowlers as well. This can happen in two ways:

    1. The bowler should be allowed to bowl either right or left handed (if he can) without having to identify which one in advance. When he runs up to the crease he can deliver the ball with either hand. Ambidextrous bowlers will be able to do this.


    2. The bowler is free to start his run up from behind the umpire and then choose at the last moment whether to bowl over or round the wicket. The batsman will have to adjust at the last moment accordingly.

    This will even the odds out.

  • Comment number 70.

    Aggers is dead right. Batsmen regularly step away from the crease if a fielder changes position close to the bowler starting his run-up. Surely it is illogical to have lots of time spent at cricket matches moving the fielders if the batsman can change which "handed" guard he is taking. Suppose a tennis player popped the odd serve into the opposite service court and took his opponent by surprise. No problem if he changes his grip after the ball is live, in tennis or cricket, but no bowler should be expected to bowl more than a few to a wrong-sided KP. Once he has been hit for a few boundaries, assuming KP gets the shots right, he would be entitled to pull up and have a dead ball. Hardly a recipe for exciting cricket.

  • Comment number 71.

    When a player comes up with a new or unusual tactic to gain an advantage, it is up to the other team to find a counter to it. What KP did was within the laws if the game, and there are many, also legal, ways for the bowler and fielders to counter it.

    These posts, this whole debate, including Jonathan Agnew's original concerns, highlight one of the great things about playing cricket: the battle between bowler and batsman.

    If a player changes stances to prevent a fast bowler having slip-fielders, as Blueblacky (67) says, the fielding team can counter by setting two leg-gullies, leg slip and 3 deep-backward squares, and sending every delivery flying past the batsman's ear! That'd soon sort them out.

    Message 38's author also suggested a way for a spinner to counter deliberate stance-changes to negate lbw or field restriction rules by bowling round the wicket at leg stump without the batsman being able to pad with impunity.

    If, as J Agnew says, a batsman changed stances against Murali to try and save a Test match, then good luck to him. It would be fascinating watching the battle to see how the great spinner changed tactics to cope with it.

    Mike Bearely, apparantly, used to place the fielding helmet at mid-wicket in order to enduce the batsman to try and hit it (to gain 5 runs), but also risk playing accross the line at straight deliveries.

    This sort of thing makes cricket better, not worse.

  • Comment number 72.

    The other consideration is the limit of two fielders behind leg. If a side has three slips and then the batsman "switches" is it then automatically a no-ball? Or can they have three slips on both sides?

    Or if a fielding side is on the attack, can the fielder switch sides, forcing the slips to move to his weaker side, and then switch back, limiting how many slips on his strong side?

    Or will we end up with "Bodyline" again?

  • Comment number 73.

    Jonathan makes some excellent points and I believe they need to be considered but I can't help feeling they are the comments of a bowler who wouldn't want it to happen to them.

    As a member of the fee paying public I applaud the MCC for being so quick to say there is no problem with switch-hitting. Cricketers should entertain and there is no doubt that KP did just that.

  • Comment number 74.

    How absolutely appropriate that the MOST BORING game in the world should now get bound up in the MOST BORING controversy.

  • Comment number 75.

    "2. The bowler is free to start his run up from behind the umpire and then choose at the last moment whether to bowl over or round the wicket. The batsman will have to adjust at the last moment accordingly"

    "The other consideration is the limit of two fielders behind leg. If a side has three slips and then the batsman "switches" is it then automatically a no-ball? Or can they have three slips on both sides?"

    Some posters are so frustrating. Please read the thread before you blindly post questions that have already been clearly answered.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think Agnew has something against KP, i remember he keeps saying KP will bowl when he will obviously be slogged around and lose reputation for that. He was the first to come out and say the switch shot was unfair. Here he tries to dismiss it even more. Agnew grow and and appriecate the development of cricket

  • Comment number 77.


    Depsite cricket being played for, well a long time KP has all of the sudden come up with a shot that means we need to re-write the laws of cricket. Astonishing.

    When batsmen are good enough to start picking and choosing to bat either LH or RH to gain advantage when attacking and defending the bowler then perhaps we made MAY need too look at it. But as this shot if PERFECTLY allowed within the laws of the game and has no bearing on wides or LBW decision (leg side is determined at the start of bowlers run up not at delivery) then why can we not appreciate how good the shot was!!

  • Comment number 78.

    OK.... anyone here ever played "French Cricket ?"

    How about a batsman stands in left/right-handed neutral position, completely facing the bowler with no declaration as to which way he's going to bat. (like in French-Cricket)

    He's wearing gloves that protect both thumbs and 2 thigh pads.

    The fielding captain assumes he's right-handed and posts 2 slips and a gully in the appropriate places.

    As the bowler reaches his delivery stride, the batsman chooses left-handed.

    When the ball is delivered, does the umpire have to call no-ball for 3 behind square on the leg-side ?

  • Comment number 79.

    This game continues ...

    The fielding captain decides to negate this problem and goes with one slip and a gully on each side, just in case.

    The batsman has a clear advantage because he has occupied extra fielders in the slips.

    The fielding captain can't post either a fine-leg or a 3rd-man because this would be a no-ball (3 behind square on leg-side).

    MCC .... solve this one.


    I love K.P.

  • Comment number 80.

    "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!"

    Wrong again Aggers. He can ONLY kick away balls that pitch outside the lh leg stump, ANY straight ball or ball pitching outside the lh off stump can get him LBW . Please engage brain before posting, thanks.

  • Comment number 81.

    The bowling tactic to negate switch hitters is to bowl full at their new body position. Since this is the off side, as defined by their original stance, there is no foul and a good chance of a wicket.

    It might be worth stating that batmen are right-hand or left-hand for the duration of their innings (with some allowance for injury perhaps). Then no matter what stance they adopt, the leg and off sides are fixed. f they choose the "wrong" stance, they are in grave danger of a lot of body balls.

  • Comment number 82.

    I find all this debate really rather strange. Its pretty obvious that the only law that needs changing is the LBW law, rather than making the shot illegal.

    All you have to do is revise it so that anyone playing a switch hit shot like this loses the protection that they would otherwise get if the ball pitches outside the leg stump (as it was when the bowler started his run up). When you switch hit, it doesn't matter where the ball pitches, you can still be out LBW. End of story.

    Oh, and if you like, let bowlers bowl with either hand without having to tell the umpire first...why not? If they can do it, go for it.

    In Aggers original scenario, if a batsman intentionally takes guard contrary to his normal playing style, it can only be for the purpose of getting the field wrongly positioned, capitalising on the regulations relating to mandatory field placings so that he can then switch hit in his normal stance with impunity. The umpires already have the "Fair and Unfair Play" law to take care of this, so its a total non-issue. The reason why this is unfair, while Pietersen's occasional and highly risky forays with the shot aren't, is because he plays the shot opportunistically, spontaneously and with significant risk. None of that applies to a right handed batsman who's managed to get the field set for a left hander and then switch hits at will in his usual stance.

    And this is hardly new either. Pietersen himself did it a couple of years ago (not just reverse sweeping, but including the hands changing position as well) as did Jacques Kallis some 10 years ago. There was no furore about it then, and there wouldn't be now if Pietersen had got out embarrasingly instead of hitting them for 6

  • Comment number 83.

    I don't think there is a need for a significant rule change - just register every batsman's "handedness". KP is a right hander, so umpires can judge whether a ball is wide based on the batsman's natural stance.

    It's also worth noting that batsmen have always moved before the ball is bowled - whether it be to get the feet moving, or to give the impression to the bowler that they are about to come down the wicket. In that case, as a slow bowler myself, I would be looking out for that and, accordingly, would look to change the way I bowl. Bowlers have to be able to react to how a batsman is playing.

  • Comment number 84.

    The MCC passed a rule-change which allowed chuckers like Muralitheran to prosper, rather than enforce the perfectly adequate no-ball law. They allow the "doosra", the chuckers' version of the googly, which was devised simply to cheat the batsmen.

    What is wrong with a wide ball being defined as one which the batsman cannot reasonably reach, right-handed, left-handed or standing on his head? Umpires are sensible people, they know what is fair play and when people are taking the micturation.

    Similarly leg-before-wicket. The question "would the ball have hit the wicket" should be paramount. If it is an issue, then pitching leg side or off side should cease to be an issue, and become another imponderable that the batsman has to weigh up if he decides to switch-hit. Switch-hitting to pad away a leg/off spinner is a non-issue.

    If a batsman wishes to be bold, he should be encouraged. He should not have to give way to moaning minnies and whingeing fogeys.

  • Comment number 85.

    vetorri also tried to play it against england

  • Comment number 86.

    Dear boys and girls, the simple thing to do with the switch hitter is to treat him to a little leg theory. Since he turns the wrong way round, legitimately you should be able to have a load of 'leg' slips and gullies round him and let the fast bowler have a little fun.

  • Comment number 87.

    I'd be inclined to loosen the LBW rule in the case of switch hitting, so there's effectively no leg side for LBW purposes.

    The implications for field settings are interesting, too, since there's a limit on leg-side fielders. A right-handed night watchman facing a fast bowler and a big slips cordon might want to line up as a lefty and switch in order to reduce the number of slip fielders waiting to take an outside edge. On the other hand, the fielding side would be free in such a case to set a classic "leg theory" field and bowl bouncers à la "bodyline".

  • Comment number 88.

    I don't think this is something a lot of players are going to try, so extensive law changes wouldn't be necessary e.g.

    1. Batsman must declare right- or left-handed and can't change during a match. He must wear gloves of the correct hand (i.e. extra thumb protection on bottom hand only).
    2. He must start each delivery in his declared stance and may not switch until the bowler has reached the Umpire (or some other agreed point - if he does, he can be penalised for time-wasting).
    3. Fielding restrictions (max 2 behind square on leg side) apply on the basis of the initial stance.
    3. lbw law applies on the basis of the original stance - if hit on legs by a ball pitching outside original off-stump batsman can be given out, if it pitches outside original leg stump, he can't.
    4. For wides, both sides treated as for off-side wides following a switch.

    This would avoid the possibility of a batsman cynically taking an opposite stance every ball to disrupt fielding positions. He'd be forced to do this throughout the match in order to be able to use his orthodox shots.

    The relaxation of the wide rule offers the (usually slow) bowler extra options to avoid being hit.

    Additional thoughts:

    It's a practical impossibility to switch after the bowler has reached the umpire if he bowls at any real pace - who would be mad enough to turn round in front of Brett Lee at 95 mph as he passes the umpire?

    Batsmen aren't going to want to risk injury by constant switching as this brings the unprotected thumb into the firing line and it will get hit eventually.

  • Comment number 89.

    maybe with the onslaught of twenty20 cricket the 'switch hit' should be allowed to preserve the sexiness of genuine one day cricket...maybe the batsman forfeits his 'outside leg stump' LBW safety net on such a stroke?

  • Comment number 90.

    NO laws need changing, this isn't a new stroke, Javed Miandad was playing it over 20 years ago. All you need to do as a bowler is vary your pace and bowl a yorker if the batsman switches.

  • Comment number 91.

    This debate shows that it is time to throw out some of the laws of cricket and start again. Constant tinkering has left the laws over-complicated and now self-contradictory.

    How about simplifying all the laws by removing all the distinctions between the on and off-side. e.g.:

    (1) LBW you are out if the ball would have hit the wicket

    (2) A wide is the same on both sides (batsmen will have to stand further to the leg to deal with "leg side" wides)

    (3) No fielding restrictions (leg theory is not a problem now with body protection and helmets)

    (4) In the event of rain /bad light etc., you need both captain's agreement to leave the field-( with the extra rule that dangerous bowling is severely penalized.). A restart can happen whenever one captain demands it,

  • Comment number 92.

    The point that is being missed here is that Law 36.3 states

    The off side of the striker's wicket shall be determined by the striker's stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery.

    This means that if the batsman changes stance before the ball is released then the offside changes as well.
    So the problem being predicted will not occur.

    Only if the batsman changes stance whils the ball is in flight does he gain an advantage in by the legside being the wrong way round.
    This might be possible but I cannot see it being anything other than purely defensive. Maybe a Nightwatchman doing it would be unfair :)

  • Comment number 93.

    re 91, sdanicic wrote:

    "How about simplifying all the laws by removing all the distinctions between the on and off-side."

    Agree! Except IMHO that with LBW's, either make it that they only apply if the ball pitches in line, or get rid of the LB altogether. It is after all the most contentious and most vague of all decisions in any game; and given today's batting penchant for 'getting on with it' you are unlikely to see anyone deliberately padding away (knowing they had immunity).
    And/or, an LB should only be possible when the batsman offers no stroke - this would ensure you didn't have negative play, while making it abundantly clear (even if it wasn't a good decision) that the batsman is the only one to blame.

  • Comment number 94.

    Re 92: "The point that is being missed here is that Law 36.3 states

    The off side of the striker's wicket shall be determined by the striker's stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery.

    This means that if the batsman changes stance before the ball is released then the offside changes as well"

    Actually what it means is that if the batsman changes stance before the ball is released then the offside **doesn't** change as well.

    The ball comes into play when the bowler starts his run up, not when the ball is released

  • Comment number 95.

    Tell you what, Aggers, you sure sucked the fun out of this subject

  • Comment number 96.

    When I played cricket, I would usually bat left handed, despite being a right hander at anything else.

    I could bat right handed, and could hit the ball harder that way, but would be less likely to connect that way around as I had more control lefthanded.

    My preference when batting as a lefty would be to face right arm over.

    If I took stance as a lefty, and the bowler then declared that he would change to right arm round, could I change stance to right handed before he started run up ?

    Could he then change back to over the wicket ? etc. etc. Where would it all end ?

  • Comment number 97.

    Can anyone tell me the implications of changing the
    LBW law to say simply

    "... you are out if the ball would have hit the wicket."

    Would the game be less entertaining?

  • Comment number 98.

    The example Mr Agnew uses of Murali bowling for LBW's vs a RH/LH switch hitter is an odd one. I didn't think you could be given out LBW to a no ball in the 1st place..

  • Comment number 99.

    Aggers! You do make me laugh...

    Do seriously believe a batsman could employ a switch-hitting tactic against Murali in order to kick every ball away and not be dismissed VERY quickly?

  • Comment number 100.

    Is the batsman actually obligated by the rules to stand side on to the bowler? Surely this is just convention and considered good technique. In theory, surely the batsmen can stand in whatever stance he chooses whether that be right or left handed or even with his backside to the bowler if he were so inclined.


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