Switch Hit

If you were watching the international T20 last night you no doubt witnessed Dave Warner’s spectacular switch hit disposal of the Indian bowling into the depths of ANZ stadium. You probably also then heard the debate amongst the commentators over whether or not it is “fair”. The discussion on the matter has continued today, not sure why though…

The point being raised by a couple of the commentators at the time was that it is “unfair” to bowlers, because if the batsman takes guard as a left-hander, then they bowl their delivery targeted at the left-handed stance, and having the batsman suddenly switch hit as a right-hander undoes their bowling plan and field settings. Boo hoo. Let’s look at two other very common scenarios where a player switches away from what’s ‘normal’ to try and gain an advantage.

Spinners, doesn’t matter if they’re left-handed or right-handed, leggies or offies, they’ve all got their variations. Big turning leg-breaks, off-breaks, arm balls, wrong-uns, top spinners, flippers, doosras and all the other myriad of names that bowler’s are giving their arsenal of deliveries. And guess what, they can change the type of ball they deliver the instant before they deliver it, and they don’t have to tell the batsman. Madness. Using the logic of the commentators last night “how is that fair?”.

Pace bowlers too, they all have a ‘normal’ pace at which they deliver the ball – obviously varying from bowler to bowler – but they also have their variations particularly in speed. Would you ever expect a bowler to tell the batsman in advance that they are about to send down a slower delivery. No, of course you wouldn’t, its such a daft idea that it even feels stupid to write.

Yes, it is true that bowlers must tell the umpire, and by extension, the batsman which arm they are bowling with and whether or not they are bowling over or around the wicket, but they have many other ways at their disposal for deceiving the batsman, it seems only fair that batsman are allowed a couple of innovations of their own. Especially when you consider that the switch hit itself is pretty risky, and there’s a decent chance that it is going to create additional wicket opportunities.

Personally I think the only reason certain people are opposed to the switch hit is that they are either jealous they didn’t think of it, or they weren’t capable of pulling it off. I see no reason at all why it should be outlawed, or why that notion should even be entertained. It isn’t really any more “out there” than the crazy ramp shot that many players are employing, both are skillful batting innovation at the highest level – if the switch hit were an easy thing to do, everyone would be doing it, and would have been doing so for years.

If you’re good enough to play the switch hit you should be entitled to. No question about it.