Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell has said that switch-hit is not fair on the bowlers and as a result, he has suggested that umpires should term the delivery as “dead ball” if the batsman tries to switch-hit. Switch-hit has become a subject of debate yet again as the cricketing fraternity remains divided whether the shot is in the spirit of the game. For example, when a batsman plays switch-hit, he changes his grip, and becomes a left-handed batsman, sending field positions for a toss. Last week, Australia batsman Glenn Maxwell played a switch-hit off the bowling of India’s Kuldeep Yadav. While the shot was remarkable viewing, many once again said how it is unfair to the bowler.
“In this case, Maxwell faced up in his normal manner as a right-hander, but before Kuldeep Yadav delivered the ball, he altered his stance and grip on the bat to effectively become a left-hander. Maxwell’s shot was an amazing example of skill and superb hand-eye coordination, but was it fair? The answer is a resounding no, as far as I’m concerned,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Chappell as saying.
“One of the main tasks of a cricket administrator is to frame laws that maintain a reasonable balance between bat and ball. If the laws or playing conditions favour one or the other unfairly then the game becomes a diminished contest. The square-leg umpire is already paying close attention to the batsman’s feet in case there is a stumping, so he’ll notice any change of order. If a batsman changes the order of his feet, then the square-leg umpire ought to simply declare the ball dead and no runs result,” he added.
Chappell said that if the umpires start to call the delivery as dead ball, whenever the batsman tries to switch hit, they would lose the incentive to play the shot and balance between bat and ball will be restored.
“If this became the law then batsmen would have no incentive to switch-hit and balance would be restored in that individual contest. If batsmen want to reverse-sweep or play a ramp shot without changing the order of their feet, that’s fine. By playing in that manner, the contest remains roughly a fifty-fifty proposition. However switch-hitting greatly favours batsmen and therefore alters the balance of the contest. It’s very skillful, but it’s not fair,” said Chappell.
However, Maxwell thinks that the switch-hit is in the spirit of the game and the shot demands a huge amount of skill and expertise.
Commenting about the switch hit after the conclusion of the third ODI against India, Maxwell had said: “As you said, it is within the laws of the game, that has always been. Batting has evolved in such a way, that it has got better and better over the years, which is why see these massive scores are getting chased down and the scores are going up.”
“And I suppose it is up-to-the bowlers to try and combat that. I suppose the skills of bowlers have been tested every-day with bowlers having to come up with different change-ups, different ways to stop batters, and the way they shut down one side of the ground and what not so,” he added.
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