MCC approves Pietersen's switch-hitting

Kevin Pietersen's innovative switch-hitting received the all-clear on Tuesday from the Marylebone Cricket Club, the guardians of cricket's laws.

updated: June 22, 2008 17:28 IST
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Kevin Pietersen's innovative switch-hitting received the all-clear on Tuesday from the Marylebone Cricket Club, the guardians of cricket's laws.

The MCC met to consider the legality of the hits at the request of the International Cricket Council after Pietersen's two astonishing sixes in England's 114-run One-Day International win over New Zealand on Sunday.

"Indeed, the stroke conforms to the Laws of Cricket and will not be legislated against," the MCC's cricket committee said in a statement. "MCC believes that the 'switch-hit' stroke is a difficult shot to execute and that it incurs a great deal of risk for the batsman.

"It also offers bowlers a good chance of taking a wicket and therefore MCC believes that the shot is fair to both batsman and bowler."

Pietersen changed his grip and his stance _ from a right-hander to a left-hander _ while Scott Styris was in his delivery stride and hit two sixes over cover and long-off in his unbeaten 110.

The MCC said, "while noting the superb execution of the stroke by Kevin Pietersen," it had already acknowledged the reverse hits in the 2000 Laws of Cricket _ Law 36.3 _ relating to the stance of a batsman.

That law defines the off side of the batsman's stance when the bowler starts his run-up.

The MCC said it would continue to investigate the switch-hitting strokes, however, because it had implications on other laws of the game, including wide and lbw decisions.

Critics of the switch hits have said it is unfair on bowlers, who have to inform the batsman which arm they're bowling with and from which side of the wicket they're going to bowl from.

The MCC said it acknowledged that, but "they do not provide a warning of the type of delivery that they will send down."

"It therefore concludes that the batsman should have the opportunity should they wish of executing the 'switch-hit' stroke."

Pietersen said the MCC's decision was good for the game.

"It's important that we as players are innovative and, if this shot helps make cricket more exciting and entertaining for spectators, then that has to be good for the sport," he said. "I don't agree with the argument that it is unfair on the bowlers. It's an extremely high risk shot and there will be plenty of bowlers out there who will think that it gives them a great opportunity to get me out."

Pietersen said the MCC had recognized the value of allowing cricket to evolve and "that this particular shot brings something special to the game."

"I have spent many hours in the nets working on it and I am pleased that all the hard work is not going to go to waste."

Styris, who shook his head and smiled as Pietersen's second switch-hit went for six, had no objection to the shot.

"Sometimes you've just got to take your hat off and say, 'No, he played a great shot,'" Styris said. "It was a magnificent piece of cricket from a great player."

England and New Zealand meet in game two of the five-match series at Birmingham on Wednesday.