Should ICC ban switch hit? Here's what Scott Styris believes
Former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris believes the famous modern-day stroke in cricket, the 'switch hit', should be banned across formats. As per Styris, the batters shouldn't be allowed to change their grip and feet midway through the bowlers' run-up. Earlier, Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, on his YouTube channel, started a debate on leg before wicket (lbw) during switch-hits. What is a switch hit?
While playing the switch hit, the batter changes the order of his grip or stance (from left-handed to right-handed or vice-versa), after the bowler starts from his run-up. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was one of the first exponents of this shot. Over the years, the experts have argued that switch hit is unfair to bowlers as it defies the original field set-up.
A switch hit is different from reverse sweep. In fact, it is considered as a variation of reverse sweep, which is a standard sweep played in the opposite direction (off-side). However, the batter here doesn't swap their hands as in case of a switch hit.
According to the current rules, the batters can't be dismissed leg before wicket (lbw) while switch-hitting if the ball originally pitches outside the leg-stump. In a general scenario, the umpire can't raise the finger (lbw) even if the ball pitches outside the leg-stump and goes on to hit the stumps. India's Ashwin argues that the ball's pitch should also change if the batter switches.
Unlike Styris, Ashwin is in favor of retaining the switch hit. However, the latter wants the lbw rule to change. "Let batters play the switch hit, but give us lbw when they miss. How can you say it's not lbw when the batter turns? If they start giving that out in all formats, some parity could be retained between bowling and batting," said Ashwin.
Speaking on Sports 18's 'SPORTS OVER THE TOP', Styris acknowledged Ashwin's statements but disagreed with his solutions. "I think the switch hit should be banned completely. There are rules for captains and bowlers in terms of where their fieldsmen can be, how many behind point, how many on the leg side, all of these things. You can play the reverse sweep," said Styris.
In December 2020, former Australian umpire Simon Taufel stated that it will not be practical to ban the switch hit. He said it is "impossible" for the on-field umpire to monitor the batter constantly in terms of grip or stance. His statement came after former Australian skipper Ian Chappell urged the ICC to ban the shot, terming it as "blatantly unfair".