Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell has criticised the art of switch hitting recently. The switch hit found itself back in the buzz when Australia’s Glenn Maxwell hit a delivery by Kuldeep Yadav by changing his batting hand at the last moment at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. Chappell has urged umpires to declare the ball as a dead ball if a batsman tries to switch hit. He says this is needed because by not penalizing switch hit, the bowlers are left at a disadvantage.
Bowlers and captains place the fielders depending upon the delivery they wish to bowl and the hand that the batsman uses. But if the batsman switches their batting hand after the ball has been released, the entire fielding setup becomes useless.
In the recent Canberra game as well, Maxwell was facing Yadav in his normal right handed fashion when he suddenly altered his stance and grip on the bat to effectively become a left-hander.
Writing for ESPNCricinfo, Chappell said although the shot was excellent, it was not fair to the bowler or the balling side.
“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,” wrote the former player.
He also devised a way to hold a batsman accountable for a switch hit. He said, “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.”
If no runs get awarded for a switch hit and the ball gets declared dead, there will be no initiative left for a batsman to switch their leg and hands for a switch hit. A spectacle of a shot will no longer remain but the game will get more balanced.