Former Australia cricketer Ian Chappell has opined that switch-hitting is unfair to the bowlers while urging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ban the shot. In the past several eminent personalities from the game had urged the ICC to ban the shot, saying that it was unfair to the bowlers in a game which is already tilted more in the batsmen’s favour.
And Ian Chappell has once again reignited the debate. The legendary cricketer’s comments came after the first two ODIs between India and Australia where the likes of David Warner and Glenn Maxwell played the switch-hit a number of times to catch the Indian bowlers off guard.
Speaking about the shots, Ian Chappell said it was very annoying and blatantly unfair when batsmen become ‘opposite-handed’ as the bowler runs in to take advantage of the fielding conditions set by the captain of the bowling side. He admitted that he is an admirer of the incredible skill required to successfully switch-hit, yet said that the practice was unfair and should be illegal.
“I’d prefer to see a contest rather than batting exhibitions,” Ian Chappell told Wide World of Sports.
“The Australian batting has been exceptional. They’ve made it look pretty easy … particularly Smith and Maxwell, some of the shots he plays are hard to believe.”[Switch-hitting] is very skillful, some of it’s amazingly skillful – but it’s not fair.
“How can one side of the game, ie. the bowlers, they have to tell the umpire how they’re going to bowl. And yet the batsman, he lines up as a right-hander – I’m the fielding captain, I place the field for the right-hander – and before the ball’s been delivered, the batsman becomes a left-hander,” added Ian Chappell.
He further said that the ICC could easily outlaw blatant switch-hitting.
“It’s very simple. Maxwell hit a couple of [switch-hit] shots and Warner did [Sunday] night. All you’ve got to say is that if the batsman changes the order of his hands or his feet [as the bowler runs in], then it’s an illegal shot,” Ian Chappell said.
“If the batsman’s right-handed and wants to play switch-hit [in advance of the bowler running in], any bowler worth is salt will say, ‘Go for your life, mate, I’ll take my chances’. But when he completely becomes the opposite-handed batsman to what he faces up as, then it’s not fair.
“If he’s good enough to do it by excellent footwork or whatever other means he can devise, I don’t have a problem with it. But when it’s blatantly unfair, it annoys the hell out of me,” he added.
Meanwhile, Australia have sealed the three-match series with a match remaining by registering convincing wins in the first two games. The hosts won the series-opener by 66 runs before winning the second game by 51 runs on Sunday.