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Warner's switch-hit: Is it legal?

David Warner's stunning switch-hit six for Australia in a Twenty20 match against India has provoked a multitude of reactions - but is it within the Laws of the game?

Kevin Pietersen made headlines in 2008 when he played a similar shot in an ODI against New Zealand - having already played the same shot previously against Sri Lanka.

As the Guardian of the Laws of Cricket MCC's Laws Sub-Committee was asked to meet and discuss the shot in June that year.

The decision was made then that the shot is legal, as well as exciting for the game, and this position has not changed since.

Indeed, MCC had already acknowledged the existence of the shot in the 2000 Laws of Cricket, in Law 36.3, relating to the stance of the batsmen.

Law 36.3 defines the off side of the striker's wicket as being defined by his stance at the moment the bowler starts their run up.

The ruling did accept that the shot may have implications on other Laws, principally Law 25 (Wide ball) and Law 36 (LBW). Indeed MCC's World Cricket committee Chairman Mike Brearley has suggested the LBW Law is relaxed in the instance of a batsman changing his stance.

The ruling, which can be read in full here (125 KB) , acknowledged that bowlers must inform umpires and batsmen as to their mode of delivery, but noted they do not provide a warning as to the type of delivery they bowl.

It stated the MCC's belief that the shot is difficult to execute and incurs a great deal of risk for batsmen - and therefore a good chance of the bowler taking a wicket.

Additionally, while Warner and Pietersen make a very deliberate switch in their stance there are many incarnations of the shot where the hands or legs do not switch fully.

MCC felt that the ambiguity of the situation would put umpires under a lot of pressure to make a difficult, split-second decision which would be hard to enforce with any consistency.

The conclusion was therefore that batsmen should be able to play the stroke, if they wish.

Warner and Pietersen, as well as others, are therefore free to continue producing thrilling moments such as Warner's the other day

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