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'Be better': Aussie cricket legends clash over 'unfair' controversy

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Ian Chappell and Ian Healy, pictured here in commentary duties for Channel Nine.
Ian Chappell and Ian Healy have clashed over the controversial tactic of switch-hitting. Image: Getty

Ian Healy has rejected suggestions from Ian Chappell that ‘switch-hitting’ in cricket is “blatantly unfair”, putting the onus on bowlers to be more aware of the tactic.

Former Test captain Chappell lashed out at Australian batsmen Glenn Maxwell and David Warner this week after both ‘switch-hit’ to great effect against India.

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‘Switch-hitting’ involves a right-handed batsman switching their grip to that of a left-hander before or as a bowler is delivering the ball, and vice-versa.

It usually allows batsmen to take advantage of field placings and play shots they wouldn’t normally be able to.

Speaking on Monday, Chappell said India should have complained to umpires about Australia’s switch-hitting.

“How can one side of the game, ie. the bowlers, they have to tell the umpire how they’re going to bowl. And yet the batsman, he lines up as a right-hander – I’m the fielding captain, I place the field for the right-hander – and before the ball’s been delivered, the batsman becomes a left-hander,” Chappell told Wide World of Sports.

“One of the main reasons why he’s becoming a left-hander is so he can take advantage of those field placings.

“I’d love the administrators who made those laws, I’d love them to explain to me how that’s fair.”

Ian Healy responds to Ian Chappell rant

However Healy has a very different take, saying he doesn’t have a problem with the modern tactic.

“I think switching hands is a bit interesting, you’re turning yourself into a different batsman,” the former Test wicketkeeper said on 1170 SEN Breakfast.

“But switching your body position, go for it.

“I think bowlers have got to be a little bit better, they’ve got to be more aware.

“Last minute changes for the bowlers aren’t that great at the moment, but they’ll get better at that.

“But it is tricky, it’s very tricky. Let the batters do it, not many are doing it well, but the one’s that do are incredible entertainers.”

Healy said umpires should offer bowlers some more leniency with leg-side wides if a batsman tries a switch-hit.

Glenn Maxwell, pictured here in action during Australia's win over India in the second ODI.
Glenn Maxwell brought out the switch-hit during Australia's win over India in the second ODI. (Photo by Izhar Khan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“The bowlers will have to get better, I think we can have a little bit more leniency on the leg side,” he added.

“If they swap sides where they’re going to hit, the bowlers may need a little leniency if they’re going to continue to allow it.”

Chappell argued that if the batsmen are allowed to switch-hit, then bowlers should also be able to employ similar tactics of deception.

“I just can’t believe the players don’t arc-up about it,” he said.

“If I’m captain, I’m going to take the ball myself and I’m going to tell the umpire I’m bowling right-arm over [the wicket], and then I’m going to run in and bowl around.

“Obviously the umpire‘s going to complain and I’m going to say, ’Well, you stop him doing something I think is totally unfair and I’ll stop doing something unfair’.

“If the administrators aren’t smart enough to change it, then my attitude always was, ‘Well, I’ll take the law into my own hands’.”

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