Switch-hit Discussions Return after Wonderful Use of the Shot: 2020


Modified Dec 7, 2020 3:58 PM IST

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Kevin Pieterson using the switch-hit

The switch-hit has become a famous shot among modern-day cricketers.

Playing the switch-hit involves changing the stance of a batsman from right to left, or vice-versa.

The change is generally done when the ball is about to be bowled and can frustrate the bowling side, as the bowler is completely thrown off rhythm.

The shot has small differences from the reverse sweep.

The reverse sweep involves changing the stance during the action, but not the grip.

While playing the switch hit, the bat’s grip is changed to replicate a left-hander if a right-hander plays the shot.

The shot is standard in short forms to pierce gaps and expand the field.

The switch-hit is crucial for a 360-degree batsman.

It was introduced by Kevin Pieterson, who effectively used it against Muttiah Muralitharan, in 2006.

Other users of the shot are Ab De Villiers, David Warner, and Glenn Maxwell.

Glenn Maxwell uses it very frequently, and it is an effective shot for him, while Ab De Villiers also used the shot to dissect the field and expand his game as he is known to use each segment of the ground while batting.

To change the bat’s stand and grip in such a short period, immense skill and hand-eye coordination are required.

In the recent ODI series, Glenn Maxwell displayed the skills required to attack the spinners using the same shot.

However, the debate arises on whether the shot is fair and within the spirit of the game.

The De Villiers Switch hit is what made him known as the 360 degree batsman in Cricket

There have been many former players questioning the balance of the game and shots like the switch-hit.

The shot is considered unfair as the field is set based on the initial stance, and a change in sides will result in an unfair advantage to the batsman.

The debate has a long history, with MCC getting involved in the past as well.

In 2012, MCC felt the shot is exciting.

They also stated that the wicket sides are based on the stance used at the start of the run-up.

With Glenn Maxwell unleashing the switch hit against India, the argument came up again.

Former stars like Ian Chappell and Shane Warne spoke about it and Simon Taufel, who also gave his views.

Glenn Maxwell responded by stating the shot is within the game’s laws, and the game must keep evolving.

His use of the switch-hit is what bought the debate to light, as he regularly used it against India, with his shot of Kuldeep Yadav a prominent one in the series.

Cricket, like any other sport, faces constant changes and innovations in the approach to the sport.

With field restrictions and bigger bats, bowlers had to adapt to unique strategies to counter-attacking batsmen.

The wide yorker, knuckleball, doosra, a variety of slower balls, and slower bouncers have been experimented with.

The yorker remains evergreen, and like the newer innovations, it is tough to bowl.

Bowling any form of innovative delivery requires great skill and control.

With the evolution in bowling, batsmen had to find ways to mix the game up as well.

The mix-up involved introducing shots like the switch-hit and reverse-sweep, along with ramps and paddle scoops.

Glenn Maxwell has used the switch-hit very frequently and it has gone on to become one of his signature shots.

With bowlers setting defensive fields, the batsman has to look for innovative ways to hit.

The search for unique solutions to tight bowling gave the world a variety of unorthodox shots.

Bowlers may argue about the shots being unfair due to the lack of hints given.

When a bowler wishes to change sides, they are supposed to inform the umpire, while the field setting is pre-set based on the batsman’s stance.

In most cases, the fielder is also not allowed to make rapid movements, guessing what the batsman is going to do.

With the side and field known to the batsman, the bowlers may feel they are at a disadvantage as the batsman can find gaps with their large variety of shots.

Though specific rules may seem unfair, it may not affect the switch-hit debate, as it remains within the law.

Like other experiments in Cricket, the switch-hit is not at all an easy shot to pull off.

The shot requires a lot of skill and has a lot of risks involved.

The batsman playing the shot may risk the LBW and top edge, while there are also chances of copping blows to the body or even the head.

The shot requires extreme courage to pull-off and is by no means simple.

Innovations such as reverse swing and the doosra were also debated on arrival.

Like the two deliveries, the switch-hit also faces an argument.

With the game constantly evolving, though, the debate may not last long as the bowlers will soon find a way to counter the batsmen.

The game remains a constant between the bat and ball, and both departments will always be looking to grow, and sometimes the growth can defy others’ thoughts.

For now, the switch hit does favor the batsmen.

But, like before, the bowlers will find a way out soon.

The fightback from the bowlers should be an interesting one, and let’s hope the war helps improve the game and keeps the game in the right spirits.