This article was last updated on February 9, 2024
Bhogle, a highly-respected broadcaster known as the voice of Indian cricket, believes that when batsmen turn their hands around to play a switch-hit – for instance, a right-hander shaping up like a left-hander – it gives them too much of an advantage. Bowlers have to tell the umpire if they make the equivalent change, between bowling with their right and left arms, unlike batsmen.
“There’s already bowlers who bowl off both hands,”
Bhogle was recently involved in a heated debate about the legality of the switch-hit with Kevin Pietersen, one of the early pioneers of the shot, which he deployed to great effect against Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan.
“When KP’s got a bone he goes after it for a long time,” Bhogle joked. “I said the switch-hit not the reverse sweep.
“He was proud of playing the switch-hit well because it was difficult. I said to him ‘look, hang on, can you imagine a bowler running, he’s in his delivery strike and he suddenly turned this way and delivered it that way?’ It’s not easy. At the moment they call it a no-ball.
“A great Indian spinner once told me, ‘my challenge to the batter is the ball I’m delivering and the field I’m setting. Now the batter has got to challenge me with his stroke-making and his skill. So if I’ve set the field for a right-hander I cannot, when I deliver the ball, suddenly discover that I’m bowling to a left-hander’.”
Bhogle, who hails from Hyderabad and is now 62, believes that star Indian pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who is now ranked the world’s No 1 test bowler, will be rested from one of the next two test matches. Bumrah took nine wickets in the match as India levelled the series in Visakhapatnam.
With Bumrah, they’ve got to manage it, because immediately after the series is the IPL and the T20 World Cup. That is when he’s get a bit of a break but he’s got five test matches at home before they go to Australia and they want him to be absolutely fit when they go to Australia.
“So they’ve got to manage him well. I think the question was do they rest him for the third or do they rest him for the fourth? Because they want him back for the fifth, no doubt at all, in Dharamshala.”
Bhogle, who has been a leading commentator for over 30 years, said that he expects a flat wicket in Rajkot for the third test. He has been heartened to watch the strong crowd numbers at the first two test matches.
“Everyone’s on the edge of their seats,” he said. “They’ve opened a few stands for school children.
“If they can get introduced to test cricket to the idea of ebbs and flows in the day – that you can be down on the third day and win on the fourth. It’s lovely for them.