'It's impossible': Umpire weighs in on Aussie cricket controversy

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, Glenn Maxwell gets ready to launch a customary reverse sweep.
Glenn Maxwell's iconic switch-hit has sparked plenty of debate in the cricket world. Pic: Getty

Cricket's controversial switch-hitting tactic has been dominating debate of late, with a former leading umpire becoming one of the latest to weigh into the discussion.

Australia's Glenn Maxwell - arguably the best switch-hitter in short-form cricket - has been wowing fans with the tactic during the ODI series against India.

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The right-handed batsman has belted some massive boundaries after switching to a left-handed stance just before the ball is bowled.

While many have praised the incredible skill required from the batsman to execute the shot, others claim it's an unfair advantage to the batsman that should be outlawed.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has led calls for the tactic to be banned, with leg-spin legend Shane Warne also echoing those sentiments.

"As a bowler, we have to nominate what hand we're bowling with and what side of the wicket we're bowling with," Warne said on Fox Cricket.

"I'm not sure I like it. It's worth a discussion, worth a debate to work out what's the right thing."

However, one of the game's most decorated former umpires says banning the switch-hit is an "impossible" ask for the men in the middle.

Australia's Simon Taufel - who retired in 2012 after officiating in 74 Test matches - says outlawing the contentious shot would be extremely difficult for umpires.

"The game of cricket is not a science, it's an art. We're not perfect," Taufel said.

"When we say that we want to ban that type of shot how does the umpire officiate that? It's impossible.

"The umpire has an enormous number of decisions - front foot, back foot, protected area, seeing where a ball is hit - it's impossible to have an official then watch for the changing of the grip or stance. It's an impossible ask for a standing umpire to make that determination.

"We can't make a law that we can't apply."

Maxwell defends contentious tactic

One of Maxwell's reverse sweeps in the third ODI against India this week was labelled by viewers as the "shot of the series".

The Aussie star crunched a left-handed shot of Kuldeep Yadav that went some 100 metres up into the top tier of the stands at Manuka Oval.

Responding to some of the uproar over the shot, Maxwell insists it just represents the natural evolution of the short-form game.

Seen here, Glenn Maxwell belted a massive switch-hit for six at Manuka Oval.
Glenn Maxwell almost reverse-sweeped Kuldeep Yadav onto Manuka Oval's roof in the third ODI.

"It's within the laws of the game," Maxwell said.

"I think batting has evolved in such a way that it's just got better and better over the years which is why we're seeing these massive scores getting chased down and scores are going up.

"I suppose it's up to the bowlers to try and combat that, and the skills of bowlers are being tested every day.

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