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Pietersen allowed to carry on reversing

cricket Updated: Jun 17, 2008 22:33 IST
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Kevin Pietersen will be allowed to carry on playing his extraordinary 'reverse slog-sweep' after MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), cricket's rule-makers, announced they would not be outlawing the 'switch-hit'.

Pietersen used the shot to twice strike extraordinary sixes off New Zealand medium-pacer Scott Styris during an innings of 110 not out in England's 114-run first one-day international victory at the Riverside on Sunday.

It led to criticisms that batsmen had an unfair advantage over bowlers, who are obliged to tell the umpire with which hand they are bowling, and from which side of the wicket, or risk being penalised.

However, following a meeting at it's Lord's headquarters in London on Tuesday, MCC gave Pietersen, and anyone else, the go-ahead to carry on changing from being a right-handed to a left-handed batsman.

"MCC believes that the 'switch-hit' stroke is exciting for the game of cricket," said a statement. "Indeed, the stroke conforms to the Laws of Cricket and will not be legislated against."

The MCC statement 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.

However, MCC accepted that implications remained for both the interpretation of the lbw and wide rules by a batsman attempting a 'switch-hit'.

Its statement added: "MCC accepts that the use of a 'switch-hit' may have implications for other Laws of the game, principally Law 25 (Wide ball) and Law 36 (LBW), and will continue to research and discuss these implications."

The MCC, often portrayed as a conservative and reactionary cricket body, said that otherwise it had no problems with the 'switch-hit'.

"MCC believes 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 bowlers.

"Furthermore, MCC acknowledges that while bowlers must inform umpires and batsmen of their mode of delivery, they do not provide a warning of the type of delivery that they will bowl (for example, an off-cutter or a slower ball).

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