Kirsten questions Pietersen's 'switch-hit'

Published: Monday, December 22, 2008, 10:55 [IST]
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Kirsten wants law against switch-hit

Mohali: Kevin Pietersen may be reinventing the game with his special 'switch hits'. But India coach Kirsten feels that 'swith hits' are unfair to bowlers and it should be banned.

It was the Pakistani Mushtaq Mohammad who first experimented with it in the mid-1970s when he played for Northamptonshire. Then the shot was more of a deflection than a sweep. Mike Gatting famously tried it against Allan Border's slow left-arm in the 1987 World Cup final, with fatal results.

Indian coach Garry Kirsten came out openly against Pietersen's controversial shots. He is of the opinion that law should be framed against 'switch hits' as he feels its big disadvantage to the bowlers.

"But I think we have to do something about the law of the game, because it's a big advantage for the batsman and a disadvantage for the bowlers," said Kirsten.

Pietersen executed the shot to hit Harbhajan Singh out of the ground and on another occasion, to get a boundary off Amit Mishra. He tried it a number of times in between but with little success.

The England captain said he didn't see it as a risky shot but rather found it useful to score runs when the on side is heavily packed.

"I bring in the sweep shot when fielders are in certain positions, when you pack the leg-side the scoring options are on the off-side. It's then I bat left-handed. That's how I did it in ODIs and that's what I do in Tests. I don't see it as a risky shot but a scoring option," he explained.

In June, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) met at its Lord's headquarters where the shot came up for discussion after Pietersen had hit New Zealander Scott Styris for two such sixes during an ODI.

Many felt the shot puts the bowlers in the back foot since they have to declare beforehand which hand they would bowl with and from which side of the stumps. Besides, many feel, it upsets field positions and makes it difficult for bowlers to get leg before decisions.

The MCC later said in a statement that it was an exciting addition to the game and "the stroke conforms to the Laws of Cricket and will not be legislated against".

Admitting it makes life difficult for a bowler, MCC said it also makes practitioner of the shot more vulnerable. "MCC believes the 'switch-hit' stroke is a difficult shot to execute and that it incurs a great deal of risk for the batsman," the august body said in its statement.

"It also offers bowlers a good chance of taking a wicket and therefore MCC believes that the shot is fair to both batsman and bowlers," MCC had said.

Pietersen had reverse-swept Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in an Edgbaston Test in 2006 as well.


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