Dettol ODI Series v India
Maxwell launches strong defence of 'unfair' switch hit
Ian Chappell reckons it gives batters an unfair advantage but Glenn Maxwell says it's simply a reflection of the evolution of cricket
Andrew Ramsey in Canberra
3 December 2020, 07:18 AM AEST
Shortly after nailing a switch-hit so sweetly it was already being hailed as one of the shots of a summer yet to hit full stride, Glenn Maxwell mounted a defence of the controversial tactic that has drawn its share of ire.
Former Test captain Ian Chappell led the charge this week when he labelled the innovation – whereby batters switch from a right-handed stance to left-handed (or vice versa) just as bowlers are delivering the ball – as giving an unfair advantage to batters.
"It is very skillful, some of it's amazingly skillful - but it's not fair," Chappell said.
Maxwell is an acknowledged master of the art, which is deployed to counteract bowling team tactics such as was witnessed in last night's final match of the Dettol ODI Series at Manuka Oval when India's batters were on the charge.
In the final overs of Australia's bowling innings, skipper Aaron Finch set a field that featured four men in an arc between cover point and short-third man with the obvious plan for Sean Abbott to bowl yorker-length deliveries wide of off-stump to right-hander Hardik Pandya.
It's with those sort of bowling strategies in place that Maxwell believes batters should be allowed to improvise and back their skill and courage to hit the ball into unprotected areas.
"It's within the laws of the game," Maxwell noted last night after belting 59 from 38 deliveries including his huge switch-hit in Australia's 13-run loss to India.
"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.
"They're having to come up with different change-ups and different ways to stop batters, and with the way they shut down one side of the ground and what-not.
"I suppose the way that batting is evolving, I think bowling has got to evolve to the same stage, so you see guys come up with knuckle balls and wide-yorker fields and different tactics.
"The tactics of one-day cricket have definitely evolved over the last little bit as well, so I just see it as a different part of the evolution of the game."
The use of the switch-hit has prompted comparisons from Chappell and others to the restrictions placed on bowlers, with the laws of cricket forbidding someone from feigning to bowl right-handed before suddenly switching to a left-arm delivery unannounced.
Maxwell has proved particularly proficient at the skill, from the days at primary school in Melbourne when his prodigious talent meant teachers would only allow him to play cricket in the yard if he batted left-handed thereby given fellow students a better chance to dismiss him.
The 32-year-old, who was in blazing form during the Dettol Series with 167 runs at a strike rate of 194.18 per 100 balls faced, conceded his huge switch-hit off left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav owed as much to the Canberra breeze as his own brilliance.
"It probably helped it was with a pretty decent wind," Maxwell said last night.
"I wasn't too worried about the boundary rider there and just thought if I got it up in the air it was going to travel.
"But I got it pretty clean and lucky enough, it went over the rope."
Maxwell also felt he should have been the batter who "iced" the game for Australia, having helped get them into a position from where they could have challenged India's total of 5-302 with Alex Carey in good touch at the other end.
The pair had carried Australia to a memorable ODI series win in the UK earlier this year with a 212-run partnership when chasing precisely the same total.
However, when Carey responded to Maxwell's initial movement for a quick single with 93 runs till required, only to be run out when his batting partner called 'no' the target proved too much despite Maxwell's best efforts as he was bowled by a yorker from Jasprit Bumrah.
"I suppose it's part of my evolution as a finishing batter," Maxwell said.
"I feel like I've been in good form over the last little bit in one-day cricket and that's obviously changed my role a little bit so it's up to me to finish that game.
"I thought the changing point was probably the run out with Carey, which was probably 100 per cent my fault.
"I think we were six down at that stage so it makes it a little bit tougher because you know one mistake and it can all turn around pretty quickly.
"That was probably a key moment in the game that I probably stuffed up.
"Having said that, I probably should have iced that game from there.
"But they're allowed to bowl well and Bumrah's a class finisher."
Dettol ODI Series v India 2020
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey , Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.
First ODI: Australia won by 66 runs
Second ODI: Australia won by 51 runs
Third ODI: December 2, Manuka Oval, 2.40pm AEDT
*The matches and travel remain subject to any relevant government restrictions or requirements