The controversy started with the Switch hit. According to Harsha Vogel, since the bowler cannot change hands at will, batsmen should also be banned from playing shots by changing hands suddenly. The famous Indian cricket analyst and commentator said this to whom? In front of Kevin Pietersen to introduce the switch hit in cricket! England’s former batsman said at one point of the debate, let’s fight this dispute with paws!
Needless to say, Pietersen said this in jest. Bhogle and Pietersen are commentating for TalkSport on the ongoing India-England Test. On the third day of the Test today, a couple of batsmen, including England’s centurion Ollie Pope, played switch-hit shots.
There will be objections to the idea of a right-handed batsman suddenly turning left-handed before playing a shot or a left-handed batsman turning right-handed. At one stage of the commentary, he said, ‘I have no objection to the reverse sweep. I understand (before I speak further) that I should stay a few hands away from Kevin Pietersen, but the point is, I really believe switch-hits should be banned.’
Bhogle also explained why he thinks so, ‘It is not fair. You are suddenly becoming left-handed (from right-handed), that cannot be allowed. Because the bowler was bowling right handed batsman. A bowler can no longer become a left-handed bowler at will.’
Petersen could not believe these words. He said, ‘You are really serious!’ But Harsha didn’t stop, ‘In my opinion, it should be allowed only if the bowler can suddenly bowl left-handed at will. If the bowler wants to do something like that, he has to inform the batsman first. When you switch-hit, you don’t have to tell the umpire beforehand.’
If the batsman suddenly changes hands like this, it seems to be unfair to the bowler, Hersher said, ‘If a task (playing switch hit shots) is difficult, it cannot be justified. The bowler was seen setting up the field for the left-handed batsman, then suddenly found himself bowling to the right-handed batsman!’
But Pietersen says, going to play switch-hit is very difficult, ‘It is rather unfair to the batsman. They are playing with the opposite hand, while the bowler is bowling with his real hand! If I were a bowler, I would rather bowl to a right-handed batsman who wants to bat left-handed than a right-handed batsman!’
Stating that this shot is increasing the entertainment in cricket, KP rather surprised that Bhogle is arguing, ‘I never thought you would discuss reducing the entertainment of the game! I am happy that it is now 3:20 local time. Because I will go down now! Because, you are talking nonsense!’
Needless to say, the entire debate was conducted in a mischievous tone.
To add color to the controversy or not, KP walked out of the commentary room after saying that. Bhogle then punched, ‘You are afraid to withdraw from a challenge! Oh ho, KP is gone!’
The controversy did not end there. Someone on social media X (formerly Twitter) quote-tweeted KP’s last words before he left the commentary room (Bhogle was babbling), with KP commenting below, ‘He was really babbling!’
Even though he suffered, he did not leave. Taking KP’s comment, he re-tweeted and wrote, ‘You are full of bullshit (laughing emoji). If you want to play switch-hit, the bowler should also be allowed to bowl between the two hands whenever he wants!’
In response to this, KP calls, ‘Then let it be settled in a paw fight, or?’
Incidentally, after Pietersen’s two-three switch hit sixes on Muttiah Muralitharan in 2006, there was controversy in cricket about this shot. In 2008, it was discussed in the meeting of MCC, the legislative body of cricket. The shot was then legalized by the ICC.