England’s Kevin Pietersen in no stranger to which-side-are-you-on? controversies, but his recent success at what can be best be described as impromptu switch-hitting has gained the full attention of cricket’s governing body. From the Guardian’s David Hopps :
The MCC laws committee will discuss the legality of Pietersen’s switch-hitting “ in which he transforms himself into a left-hander with the bowler approaching the crease – after a request from the International Cricket Council.
An MCC spokesman confirmed: “This is on the agenda but the Law is not about to change overnight. It is not just to do with Kevin Pietersen. The ICC had already asked us to consider the topic of grip changes and reverse sweeps. The shot has generated a lot of interest but we won’t be making any further comment until after the meeting.”
The ruling might not only apply to Pietersen, but he has certainly brought the issue into focus after twice striking the slow-medium bowler, Scott Styris, for six “ the first over what had become deep square-leg to a left-hander, the second over what was now long-on “ in England’s opening ODI against New Zealand at the Riverside on Sunday.
The shot is natural not just to his extrovert personality, but also his special talent; he plays golf left-handed. Few will yearn for the MCC to punish talent in an extreme manner and accidentally banish all forms of reverse sweep entirely in the process.
But the MCC’s overriding task is to decide what constitutes fair play. The majority feeling seems to be that reverse sweeps are now an accepted part of the game, but that Pietersen’s brazen tactics, in which he switches his stance before the bowler delivers, is tantamount to unfair play and that the umpire should call dead ball.
The 2nd hottest cricket story of the late concerns the winner-take-all nature of the planned Stanford 20/20 tournament. Should England defeat Allen Stanford’s West Indies All-Stars, bowler Monty Panesar has pledged his cut — £500,000 — towards the purchase of Luton Town F.C. Alternatively, Monty could buy this place and still have enough left over for a Hatters season ticket.