After Kevin Pietersen started taking the bowlers to the cleaners with his switch-hit, batsmen around the world have started emulating him.
Unlike most other batting innovations, switch-hit has been the most controversial one. Although currently there is no law that restricts the use of switch hit, its legality is still questioned as to when a batsman should be allowed to change the grip on his bat.
A switch hit is used most effectively to counter a field setting. For example, when a right handed batsman is given five fielders on the on-side and four fielders on the off-side, a change in grip would mean that the batsman can take advantage of the lesser number of fielders on the off-side which would then become the batsman’s on-side. Furthermore, the extent of the wide-line also comes in question in such a case.
However, switch-hit doesn’t raise questions over the rule of leg before wicket as the original position of the batsman is taken into account to give the decision.
Former South African pacer Shaun Pollock has come out in support of bowlers demanding protection for them from the lawmakers.
He believes that if bowlers have to inform to the umpire before bowling the delivery as to whether they will be bowling over the wicket or round the wicket or with right-arm or left-arm. In the same way, Pollock wants batsman to inform the umpire before playing a shot as to weather a field should be set for a right-handed grip or a left-handed batsman.
Although the legality of the shot is a topic of big debate in cricketing circles, Pollock has no issues with it. But with umpires getting stricter with the bowlers in respect of the line of wide, the former South African skipper feels the need to give enough bowlers enough protection by the laws of the game in order to make the contest more even.