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'Not every batsman is Kevin Pietersen'

June 23, 2008 20:19 IST

It was supposed to be an announcement pertaining to India's forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka and involved Aravinda De Silva and Sanjay Manjrekar, amongst others.

The camaraderie between the players of the two teams during the inaugural edition of the Indian premier League was talked about as was their brilliance as individuals. And also discussed was Sachin Tendulkar's impending world record - the Master Blaster needs just 171 runs to surpass Brian Lara as the highest run scorer in Test cricket.

However, that was just about it. The tour is scheduled after a month and the people present were keen to discuss current and related issues as opposed to the tour per se.

The most palpable one being Kevin Pietersen's "switch-hit" in the recent ODI against New Zealand.

The guardian of the laws of cricket, the MCC, discussed the legality of the stroke last week and decided that as the stroke involved an element of risk for the batsman, and offered the fielding side a good chance of taking a wicket, it should continue to employed in any form of cricket.

The gentlemen present above, also echoed similar views albeit with their respective touches.

"As a batsman, I should be taking the batsman's (Pietersen's) side," said Aravinda. "But at the same time I do believe if the shot is accepted, then some other rules also need to be changed."

The reference was obviously to MCC's statement that they would meet in the future to discuss the implications regarding wide balls and the lbw rule, which could be considered to change when a right-handed batsman alters his stance to that of a left-hander, or vice versa.

"I first saw Paul Nixon trying out that shot," reminisced Manjrekar. "I initially said, during my commentary stint, it is unfair to the bowler.

"But the MCC gave a good enough reason when they said it is a high-risk shot and the bowler, after all, has a better chance of taking wicket." The former Indian batsman went on to elaborate.

"In any case, how many batsmen can do that?" he asked. "Not every one is a Pietersen.

"Only since it was Pietersen, it seemed so easy. It's also not the first time that he has done it. But this time it was just the impact (two sixes) that made the difference."

The forthcoming series is also important as the ICC tries out a referral system on umpiring decisions, where players will be allowed to challenge decisions made by on-field umpires, and have them referred to the TV official.

Purists have felt this will slacken the pace of the game. Aravinda, however, welcomed the change.

"I think when you have a system to try and eliminate doubts, you should make use of it even if it slows down the pace of the game a bit," he explained.

Bikash Mohapatra