Cow Corner

Reverse psychology

Cow Corner

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Rent-a-quote Kevin Pietersen didn't really need to re-invent himself as world cricket's first switch hitter to get plenty of newspaper column inches.

After all he scored 98 runs from 110 balls yesterday in the one-dayer against New Zealand right-handed, it was just the 12 he scored in southpaw style that has got everybody's attention.

In baseball, a switch-hitter is a batter who is able to hit from both the right and left sides of the plate.

And for those who missed it yesterday, this is pretty much what KP did as he jumped around 180 degrees and changed his grip on the bat as Scott Styris entered his delivery stride.

The first thing to note is that Pietersen must have incredibly strong wrists to play such a shot - slightly surprising after his revelation that "he'd been thinking about doing it in bed last night."

And he's got previous - using the conventional right-hander's grip to reverse sweep Muttiah Muralitharan for six in the Edgbaston Test two years ago.

But yesterday the pre-meditation was enough for the increasingly cantankerous Michael Holding and Graeme Gooch - two guys who would graffiti a public toilet by writing 'kiljoy woz ere' - to pretty rapidly call for a law change.

And there are plenty of minor issues that the anoraks can debate ad-nauseam:

- Should the batsman be obliged to declare if he is playing right or left-handed?

- Had the bowler fired the ball away to the right of the stumps would that have constituted a leg-side wide?

- Where does the umpire stand with the lbw law, which is leg-stump and which is off?

- Would a slip, a gully and backward point constitute three men behind square on the leg side and so render the delivery a no-ball?

But before the law book gets ripped up, the only pertinent question is - Is this really going to cause a spate of players batting left-hander?

If Styris had fired one in the blockhole, Pietersen would probably have been plumb in front of middle stump and walking off with cricketing egg on his face.

Anyone remember when Mike Gatting's impetuous reverse sweep cost England the 1987 World Cup final!

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Last week Cowers sent an urgent fax to the Eurosport editor suggesting that the cricket poll should be changed to 'Should Paul Collingwood play in the first Test v South Africa?'

A fair question given his hideous lack of form in first-class cricket but his run-a-ball 64 yesterday now means he's a certainty for Lord's.

It may be a completely different ball game but one-day form does count.

Robin Smith got his England Test call-up on the back of a good 38 in the 1988 B&H Cup final and didn't look back until Ray Illingworth convinced the world he couldn't play spin.

- - -

Cowers has watched two Twenty20 matches, Middlesex v Essex and England v New Zealand, plus yesterday's 50 over affair and in all three occasions the result was eminently predictable a quarter of the way through the reply.

But going into the final day of the third Test between West Indies and Australia all three results are very possible - and who said Test cricket was dead?

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "There's new things happening to cricket at the moment and people are criticising all the time. There should just be positives about all the stuff that's happening," KP says up yours.

TALKING POINT: Left-handed, right-handed, no handed. Have your say.



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