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More thought needed on switch-hitting: Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar believes Kevin Pietersen’s controversial switch-hitting technique should not be banned, but does think cricket’s laws needed clarifying.

England batsmen Pietersen sparked a debate last month when, before New Zealand bowler Scott Styris reached his delivery stride, he switched to a left-handed grip and stance and twice hit sixes in a one-day international.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), custodians of the game’s laws, quickly convened to discuss the tactic and announced the innovation conformed to the existing rules.

However, Tendulkar, a batsmen who has always combined a classic technique with wristy innovation, feels the approach needs more thought.

“I think they will have to look at it far more closely than has been done; it changes the laws,” he told Reuters today.

“It’s about lbw decisions, how are you going to decide which is off stump and which is leg?

“My opinion is that when a right-handed batsman takes his guard it doesn’t matter which shot he plays, he’s a right hander and the field can be set accordingly.

“The moment a right-handed batsman becomes a left hander and changes his grip, changes his stance, then if you’ve got three slips you have three leg slips — and it’s a no ball.

“It’s far more complicated than it appears, the best option is probably to stick to if he’s a right hander, it doesn’t matter where the ball pitches, the off stump will always be off stump.”

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Tendulkar, the most successful one-day international batsman with more than 16,000 runs to his name, is not against progress.

He has embraced Twenty20 cricket, though injury restricted his appearances in the Indian Premier League, and says the constantly evolving challenge between bat and ball will always throw up such advances.

“These are the natural changes and innovations of the game,” he said.

“Close to 10 years ago, when (former Zimbabwe batsman) Andy Flower started playing reverse sweep I said that in the next five years this would become a common shot.

“Now many batsmen play it and in time more innovations will come from batsmen and bowlers.”

Tendulkar felt Twenty20 cricket had already had an impact on the approach of batsmen.

“The game is changing, it’s becoming more and more attacking and players are prepared to take more risks,” he said.

“It’s only because the different versions have been introduced.

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“In one-day cricket there are still spells when you just need to see things through and in Test cricket that happens often.

“But if you can chase 180 or 190 in 20 overs then why can’t you chase 325 in 50 overs? The thought process will definitely change.”

Tendulkar has not played international cricket since India’s first Test against South Africa in April after a groin injury forced him out of the series and the subsequent one day tri-series in Bangladesh and the Asia Cup.

He has turned out in England for the Lashings “World XI” team in the last two weeks and said he was fit for consideration for the three-Test series in Sri Lanka beginning July 23.

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