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India vs Australia 2017: David Warner reveals why he did not use switch-hit against R Ashwin

The Australian opener is confused by leg-before laws surrounding his extraordinary shot.

News 12 Mar 2017, 21:29 IST
David Warner Ravichandran Ashwin
Warner has not been able to counter the menace of Ashwin

What’s the story?

Renowned for taking the attack to the opposition bowlers, David Warner is the quintessential modern-day batsman who does not shy away from employing unorthodox means to achieve his end. However, the opener was surprisingly hesitant to use his highly effective switch-hit despite being repeatedly troubled by Ravichandran Ashwin.

Interestingly, it was his lack of awareness for the leg-before rules that came in the way of him bringing out the switch-hit. 

When asked if the thought of unfurling the switch-hit crossed his mind, Warner ruminated, “Yeah, the last Test I was contemplating that. I tried to play a reverse-sweep. The only concern for me was the variable bounce – that's always the challenging thing because if you miss that and you switch-hit, you can still be given out lbw but if you reverse-sweep, you can't, so you've got to be careful.”

The Background

Ashwin has got the better of Warner nine times thus far in Tests. As with every other off-spinner, he prefers bowling to southpaws rather than right-handers. The first innings in the Bengaluru Test saw the opening batsman undone by the sharp turn from the rough area outside his leg-stump. However, the wily spinner operated mostly from over the wicket in the second innings and trapped his prey with a fuller delivery.

The heart of the matter

Against an off-spinner capitalising on the rough area from awkward angles, the switch-hit is not a bad ploy to force him to change his line. However, Warner has relied more on the conventional sweep due to a confusion in the rules of the game.

With the switch-hit involving the batsman changing his grip after the bowler’s well into his delivery stride, the shot has been met with hesitancy.

Extra Cover: Top players of the switch hit

Despite pondering a rule change in 2012 which would have allowed the switch-hit employing batsman to be given out even if the ball was pitching outside the leg-stump, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided against it.

In the following year, the custodians of the game’s rules in the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) ruled that the switch-hit will remain a part of the game with no exceptional leg-before rules attached to it.

The current leg-before law states that the batsman’s stance at the moment when the bowler gets into his action determines the off and leg part of the wicket. As a result, the switch-hit bound batsman cannot be adjudged leg-before if the ball pitches outside the leg-stump as long as he changes his grip and/or alters his stance only after the bowler begins his run-up.

What’s next?

With the series locked at 1-1, the third Test in Ranchi assumes extra significance. It will be interesting to see if Warner decides to bring out his switch-hit when Indian skipper Kohli tosses the ball to Ashwin.

Sportskeeda’s Take

The above incident reiterates why it’s extremely important for a cricketer to keep himself/herself updated with the game’s rules. Conversely, the ICC also has a responsibility to conduct frequent workshops to help both the players, as well as viewers, become acquainted with such intricate laws.

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