ICC's go ahead to switch-hit irks bowlers

Jun 02, 2012, 07:50 IST | Harit N Joshi

ICC sticks to its earlier stand and calls switch-hit a legitimate shot as bowlers consider it another step against them

While the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee felt that the much-debated switch-hit should remain a legitimate part of the game, bowlers consider this another step towards making the game more batsmen-friendly. The switch-hit was employed by England’s Kevin Pietersen against New Zealand in 2008 when he changed from a right-hander to left-hander just before the ball was delivered.

Too much in their favour, UMP: England’s Stuart Broad (right) speaks with umpire Tony Hill during the second Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka on March 23, 2010. Getty Images pic used for representation only

A number of issues were discussed and debated during the Cricket Committee’s annual meeting at Lord’s on Wednesday and Thursday. ICC says... The ICC release stated: “After a detailed debate involving a wide range of opinions, the committee decided to make no change to the current regulations, but to request MCC to provide further direction on the matter (switch-hit and reverse sweep shots) following wider consultation with players and match officials.”

Manoj Prabhakar 

Former India spinner Venkatapathy Raju had no problems in switch-hit and reverse sweep being allowed, but appealed to the ICC to permit bowlers to also change their bowling arm at will. Under the current rules, a bowler has to inform the umpire about his bowling arm and side, and intimate the official upon changing it.

Venkatapathy Raju 

“I am fine with batsmen playing the switch-hit or reverse sweep. But then, also allow bowlers to bowl with any arm without informing the umpires,” Raju told MiD DAY yesterday. “If the batsman can change from right-hander to left-hander or vice versa, then why not the same rule for bowlers? It will add more unpredictability to the game,” Raju suggested. Chandu Borde, whose leg-breaks fetched India 52 wickets in Tests, supported the switch-hit, but said the leg-before rules should also change in such cases. “That shot (switch-hit) is alright,” he said from Pune.

“But the leg-before rule needs to be changed as well. The umpire needs to judge the line of the ball according to the changed stance,” Borde added. He was against the suggestion that bowlers should also be allowed to change the arm without informing the umpires. “Then we need to change the whole game,” he said with a chuckle. However, former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar was livid at cricket becoming more of a batsman’s game. “What have they (ICC) done for the bowlers?” he asked. “Cricket is turning out to be a batters’ game.

All rules are against bowlers. You bowl little outside leg stump, it is called a wide; any ball which is little over waist high, is a no-ball.” When informed about a recommendation of allowing two bouncers in an over instead of one, Prabhakar said: “But the restrictions are still there on the bowlers. Batsmen have no restrictions. They can play whichever shot they want,” said the all-rounder, who played 39 Tests and 130 ODIs. He, however, shot down the idea of allowing bowlers to change the arm without prior warning. “It is not a good idea. Then, you need to adjust the sightscreen and other things as well. It will be a bit complicated,” he concluded. 

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