Friday, October 7, 2011

To Switch Hit or Not?

To Switch Hit or Not?
In the first place how many can. There are two for sure and one is turning prudent. In the ongoing Champions League David Warner continues to torment the bowlers with his switch hitting skills. Mind you, his switch hits are not about sneaking ones and twos in the gaps but a ploy to pick boundaries and sixes. Warner confirmed practicing right handed for 15 minutes towards the end of every net session. “Being a right hander during the early teens aids me practice and execute the shot to perfection” told Warner.

Is it fair or unfair?
Cricket is always about batsman surprising the bowler with his array of strokes while bowler foxing the batsmen with his guile. Before getting into the debate we must have to agree that there is no law in place that prevents batsmen from playing switch hit. So per rule, the batsman has every right to play the stroke.

Going back to the question, whenever bowler switches guard the same has to be notified to the batsmen. Else the umpire can/will rule the delivery a NO BALL. While the guard here means bowling Over the Wicket or Around the Wicket and the same change vice versa depending on the bowler being right handed or left handed.  For better clarity, the guard is usually mentioned LEFTARM OVER THE WICKET OR RIGHTARM AROUND THE WICKET. In this case both mean the same with respect to delivery side of the wicket. Basically the arm information carries no merit if every bowler on the planet happens to be either right handed or left handed. 

Because of nature, human beings can be left handed or right handed and so a guard requires a mention of ARM. So if ever a bowler decides to switch his arm (from left to right or vice versa) at the time of delivery it turns illegal as it also change the guard without notice. Unless a bowler is ambidextrous such a phenomenon is unlikely to occur is a different story. Anyways, when the bowler doesn’t have the advantage of switching arms; it becomes unfair on the part of batsman to do the same. Because there is No Law in place currently, it turns to be ETHICS & MORALE of the batsman not to switch hit. Much like the non-striker not to leave his crease ahead of the delivery or the bowler does not run out the non-striker for unfairly backing up etc., it all boils down to ethics. Well, ICC changed some of these rules recently. Feel free to take a peek on the post Fun on the Run – ICC Conference.

Tendulkar practicing left handed during World Cup preparation
During the World Cup preparation, Sachin Tendulkar practiced batting left in the nets. I was curious to see the master playing switch hits, but then such a scene never happened.

To be honest it is really super exciting to watch David Warner switching right handed, then dancing down the wicket to smack the fast bowler to midwicket boundary for a four or six. Though I agree it is unfair from Warner to do so, I’m really tempted to say why would you want to take away such a gifted ability?

Bottom Line: Until Switch Hit is prevented by Law, you should see more of Warner gimmicks in the games ahead. The question is, "Will ICC revise the laws for Switch Hit?"

Cricket Lover

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