It is impossible to ban switch-hit shot: Simon Taufel

It is impossible to ban switch-hit shot: Simon Taufel

Throwing his support behind the use of the shot, Taufel feels it will not be practical to outlaw it.

Simon Taufel
Simon Taufel. (Photo by Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Switch-hit has once again become one of the major talking points in the cricket fraternity in the wake of the recently-concluded ODI series between Australia and India. The Australian players especially Glenn Maxwell played the shot a number of times to frustrate the Indian bowlers. In this shot, the batsmen change their grips (from left-handed to right-handed grip or vice-versa) just before the ball is delivered.

The cricketing fraternity has been divided on this unorthodox shot for years now. While one section believes that there is nothing wrong with it, the other section believes that it is illegal as well as unfair to the bowlers. And in the latest turn of events, former ICC Elite Panel umpire Simon Taufel has joined the debate over the shot.

Throwing his support behind the use of the shot, Taufel feels it will not be practical to outlaw it. Taufel, who umpired 74 Test matches and 174 ODIs, said that it’s “impossible” for the on-field umpire to monitor the batsman for change in grip or stance.

“The game of cricket is not a science, it’s an art. We’re not perfect. When we say that we want to ban that type of shot how does the umpire officiate that? It’s impossible,” Simon Taufel was quoted as saying by ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.

“The umpire has an enormous number of decisions – front foot, back foot, protected area, seeing where a ball is hit – it’s impossible to have an official then watch for the changing of the grip or stance. It’s an impossible ask for a standing umpire to make that determination. We can’t make a law that we can’t apply,” he added.

Calls for ban on switch-hit

Simon Taufel’s comments have come after former Australian skipper Ian Chappell’s recent remark over the same. Calling the shot blatantly unfair, Chappell had suggested the ICC to ban switch-hitting. While Chappell said that playing the shot needs a lot of skill, it is unfair to the bowlers as well as the fielding sides.

“[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,” Chappell had told Wide World of Sports.

Later, Glenn Maxwell also gave his views on the shot. The hard-hitting batsman, who regularly plays the switch-hit effectively, defended the shot and said that the onus was on the bowlers to evolve and stop the batsmen from playing it.

“I think batting has evolved in such a way that it’s just got better and better over the years which is why we’re seeing these massive scores getting chased down and scores are going up. I suppose it’s up to the bowlers to try and combat that, and the skills of bowlers are being tested every day. They’re having to come up with different change-ups and different ways to stop batters, and with the way they shut down one side of the ground and what-not,” he had said.