A switch hit is a modern cricket shot. A switch hit involves effectively changing from a right-hander to a left-hander just before the ball is delivered by the bowler for the purpose of executing the shot. It is a variation of the reverse sweep, in which the hands on the bat handle are switched and the stance is changed during the bowler's delivery action, and has been compared to switch-hitting in baseball.
An early instance of a switch hit in Test matches happened in the fourth Test between Australia and England at Manchester in 1921. Australian captain Warwick Armstrong was bowling wide outside the leg stump to slow the scoring. To take advantage of the absence of fielders on the offside, Percy Fender switched his hands on the bat handle and played the ball towards cover point. The Times reported the shot thus :
- in dealing with Mr. Armstrong, he (Fender) contrived at times to get away and place the ball on the deserted off side. He once shifted hands on the handle of the bat and pulled him back-handed across the wicket to the place where cover-point generally stands.
In modern times, the shot is usually attributed to Kevin Pietersen. Pietersen played the shot in a Test match for the first time off Muttiah Muralitharan 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 before Pietersen: he hit a switch-hit six off Darren Lehmann in a one day international between Australia and South Africa on March 27, 2002. However, Krishnamachari Srikanth played a switch hit for four off Dipak Patel in India's last league match of the 1987 World Cup against New Zealand on 31st October 1987. Australia's Glenn Maxwell is a notable user of this shot and was endorsed to use a double-faced bat in Twenty20 cricket.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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 (notably David Warner) do not actually change handedness in the course of a match.
- "Z-score's Cricket Stats Blog". www.sportstats.com.au. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
- "DISPUTE REGARDING CLOSURE". Herald. 1921-07-26. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
- "Switch-hit given OK by International Cricket Council". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
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- Mcc Examines Switch shot
- "Sport". The Telegraph. 2016-02-04. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2021-11-23.