‘If a batsman plays a reverse sweep, he should be given out lbw even if the ball pitches outside leg stump’: Ashwin

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R Ashwin wants the batsmen to be given out lbw even when the ball pitches outside the leg stump if they are attempting to play reverse sweep or a switch hit. As things stand, lbw rule is not applicable even if the ball is expected to hit the stumps as long as the ball pitches outside leg stump as its considered a blind spot for a batsman. Ashwin now wants the cricket authorities to take a relook at that to even up the contest.

“Please play your reverse sweeps, but give us (bowlers) lbw!” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel. “How can you say it’s not lbw when you turn (your body and it’s no longer a blind spot). It’s only a blind spot when you are at your normal stance. Once you play the reverse sweep or switch hit, it’s no longer a blind spot.  It’s extremely unfair that it’s not ruled lbw.”

He took to an indoor nets to demonstrate what he meant. He discussed the approach by Ravindra Jadeja who bowled from over the wickets, outside leg stump to Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow during the fifth Test at Edgbaston. “Root tried the reverse sweep for 10 times initially and for the first nine times, he couldn’t connect. The 10th time the ball rolled off the under edge. Bairstow just padded those balls away,” Ashwin said.

He then brought up his argument for lbws. “As a bowler I tell the batsman my line of attack (over or around the stumps), and I am giving a clear glimpse of my field too. You front up as a right-handed batsman but switch to a left-hander. 

“Try telling Joe Root that if the ball comes from outside leg stump and hits your pad, it’s not blind spot. If I play it from my original stance, it’s blind spot. But if I turn around, then it’s not a blind spot – it’s front-on.”

“The moment you turn around you are front-on. My question is not whether he can play reverse sweep or not, whether it’s negative bowling strategy or not (bowling outside leg stump), my point is about lbw. It’s extremely unfair that it’s not ruled lbw.”

Ashwin also mentioned how the Australian opener Usman Khawaja plays the reverse sweep without changing his stance, but by the use of his hands. (Ashwin shows how Usman changes the grip on the bat). At least he is fine. See Alex Carey (Australia’s wicketkeeper batsman).

“Carey turns his body around (Ashwin shows how Carey switches around to play like a left-hander). Then it’s no longer a blind spot when the ball lands outside leg stump. That’s my point of view.

“When the batsman plays that kind of shot even once, I think the lbw rule should be applicable. The umpire should tell them,” Ashwin said.





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