Switch hit

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Kevin Pietersen about to play a switch hit during a Test against South Africa in 2008. Note how despite being a right-handed batsmen, he has assumed the grip and stance of a left-handed batsman.

A switch hit is a modern cricket shot. A switch hit involves effectively changed from a right-hander to a left-hander just before the ball was delivered by the bowler for the purpose of executing the shot. It is a variation of the reverse sweep, in which the stance is changed during the bowler's delivery action, and has been compared to switch-hitting in baseball.

The shot is usually attributed to Kevin Pietersen.[1] Pietersen played the shot for the first time off Muttiah Muralitharan in a test match against Sri Lanka in May 2006, and used it again on 15 June 2008 in a one-day international against New Zealand. Despite the shot becoming known due to Pietersen's successful execution of it, it is believed that Jonty Rhodes actually executed this shot first: he hit a switch-hit six off Darren Lehmann in a one day international between Australia and South Africa on March 27, 2002. Australia's David Warner is a notable user of this shot and was endorsed to use a double-faced bat in Twenty20 cricket.

The shot was innovated by Pietersen using which he hit 2 sixes in the cover region. The shot is executed by changing stance from a right-handed to a left-handed batsman or vice versa during the bowler's run-up and hitting it in the cover (midwicket to a left-hander) region.

The shot has generated debate in the cricket world, some heralding it as an outstanding display of skill and others arguing that if the batsman changes stance he gains an unfair advantage over the bowler, because the field is set based on the batsman's initial stance at the crease.[2] The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), guardians of the laws of cricket, has confirmed it will not legislate against the switch shot and cited that the shot was perfectly legal in accordance with cricketing laws.[3] The MCC believes that the stroke is exciting for the game of cricket, and highlighted Law 36.3 which defines the off side of the striker's wicket as being determined by his stance at the moment the bowler starts his run-up.[4] The MCC has also acknowledged that the switch hit has implications on the interpretation of the 'on side' and 'off side' for the purposes of adjudicating on wides or leg before wicket decisions.[citation needed]

In June 2012, the International Cricket Council (ICC) committee declared it to be a legitimate shot. They issued a statement saying they have decided to make no change to the current regulations.[1]

On the other hand, if defined by baseball equivalent, where a player change stance before even facing the ball, players that are able to bat both left handed and right handed straight up do not actually change handedness in the course of a match.

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