Pietersen defends switch-hitting tactics

Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Chester-le-Street: Stating that innovations are an essential part of the game, explosive middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen has dismissed criticisms of his remarkable reverse-hit sixes during England's 114-run victory in the opening match of the one-day home series over New Zealand which has shocked purists around the world.

''It's ridiculous, it's absolutely stupid. Reverse sweeps have been part of the game since however long and I'm just fortunate enough that I can hit it a bit further,'' Pietersen said.

''Everyone wants to see brand new inventions. Nobody has seen that before and that's a new shot played today and people should be saying it's the new way to go, not criticising everything that happens on a daily basis,'' he added.

The 27-year-old informed that the shots were not an off-the-cuff reaction but were well thought out and planned in advance.

''It's something I practise, it's something I visualise, I go through routines in the nets,'' Pietersen stated.

When asked what prompted him to play such unconventional strokes Pietersen said,''It's a boundary option, and one boundary was huge so I chose the other one as it was closer and only had one fielder.

''You guys might give it a name. I guess it was a left-handed slog/sweep. This was a day when it worked, but it might well not work on other days.''

Pietersen twice switched his grip and stance to hit Scott Styris for six, essentially turning from a right to a left-hand batsman, while the bowler was approaching the crease.

It was a brilliant display of technique of the highest quality, but those two shots immediately provoked a debate about whether his actions were fair on the bowler or the fielding side.

England are now 1-0 up in the five-match ODI series ahead of the second encounter at Edgbaston on June 18.

Kiwi Flynn backs KP: Pietersen got a backer from an unlikely quarter with New Zealand batsman Daniel Flynn supporting the SA-born Hampshire batsman for his improvised switch shots employed against his side in series opener.

“If you"re good enough to play it I think you should be allowed to go for it," said left-hander Flynn.

“I don"t see why he should be restricted in playing it so fair play to him. I"ve tried hitting right-handed shots myself but I can"t hit them as well as that."

“I"m left-handed in nearly everything I do - golf, cricket everything except kicking a ball - so I can appreciate how good a shot that was.

“You have to give him credit because it was a great shot and he"s obviously worked on it and it came off for him.

“On another day it could go straight up in the air but he managed to get it right in the middle on both occasions."

MCC to discuss improvisations: Meanwhile the guardians of cricket's laws, MCC, will deliberate the legality of the shots played

by Kevin Pietersen during the first ODI against New Zealand at Chester-le-Street when they meet at Lord's on Tuesday.

"The ICC has asked the MCC to look at it issues such as grip changes and reverse-sweeps and make a recommendation," the

MCC's Abi Carter told AP, adding that they had the power to make a recommendation within hours of meeting. An actual change to

the laws, however, would need more consultation.


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