By Suman Saurabh, 10 May, 2012.
ICC cricketing committee is contemplating to review its present leg before decision rule. At present, if a ball pitches outside the leg stump and then hits the batsman then he is always given not out. But the use of switch hits by certain batsmen like Kevin Pietersen most notably have raised quite a few eyebrows in cricket fraternity. Switch hit in case of a right handed batsman, is a shot in which the batsman quickly swaps his hand, changes his stance and becomes left-handed before the bowler delivers the bowl. It helps him counter the excess leg spin or the negative leg side line adopted by a bowler, particularly a leg spinner. In a T20 format, it also provides a batsman like Pietersen extra added advantage to find boundaries in the off side. Since even if the ball strucks the batsman during switch hit, he is given not out because often ball pitches outside the leg stump. It is worth knowing that there is a difference between reverse sweep and switch hit. In former case, the stance remains the same but in the latter case, stance gets changed.
The switch hit has raised a lot of questions in the cricketing world since it gives a batman extra cushion against the balls which are pitched outside the led stump because in the case of right handed batsman like Pietersen, after switch hit, becomes a left handed one. But according to the present ICC rule, even though he becomes left handed while considering leg before decisions, he still be considered a right handed batsman and will be adjusted not out against the ball pitched outside of leg stump. This in turn has tilted the balance more in the side of batsmen because even though they can change their stance, bowlers are restricted to bowling only one side of a wicket with their usual arm. In order to set this balance right the ICC committee is thinking to modify the present leg before rule against switch hits. They are considering even giving leg before decision against the balls which are pitching outside the leg stump in case of a switch hit. Thus, in case of switch hits, bowler will not have the only chance of pulling out at the last moment but also the opportunity to adopt aggressive attitude and take wickets.
Suman Saurabh is a cricket analyst and columnist at cricketbirds.