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Switch-hit needs a look in, says Fraser

Special Correspondent

Mohali: Former England pace-bowling spearhead Angus Fraser believes the game’s law-makers need to look again at the switch-hit stroke.

While he admired Kevin Pietersen’s stunning strike over the mid-wicket fence off Harbhajan Singh on Sunday, Fraser added the stroke was rather unfair on the bowlers.

Speaking to The Hindu on Monday, Fraser said, “Your first reaction is — ‘Wow, what a shot.’ Then you think deeper. The stroke makes ruling a batsman out leg-before very difficult. A delivery out-side the off-stump to the right-hander becomes out-side the leg-stump to the left-hander and he cannot be given out leg-before. The authorities have to take a call on this issue.”

Need for rule changes

Pietersen had said he employed the stroke to beat a packed on-side field set by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Fraser said the shot was innovative but stressed appropriate rule changes.

Moving on, Fraser calls Ishant Sharma, “the most exciting, young fast bowler in the world.” “He is tall, fit, strong, and has a nice, easy action. He’s shown good skills with the ball which suggests that he is learning things from Zaheer.”

Fraser rates left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan high as well. “He can bowl over and round the wicket. He swings the new ball and reverse swings the old. He can also seam the ball."

Reverse swing, a science

Fraser concedes he reverse swung the ball “a bit” during his playing days. “Now, it has become a science. There are legitimate methods of getting the ball to reverse.”

Fraser says the England pace attack is going through a period of transition. “We had one of our best pace attacks during the 2005 Ashes series. Subsequently, there have been quite a few changes. Matthew Hoggard has faded away. Simon Jones got into injury problems. And England has not really settled down on a pace attack since. But there have also been some positives. Stuart Broad is coming along well.”

Asked how he would have bowled at Virender Sehwag, Fraser replied, “It’s not easy for sure. Bowling a tight off-stump line and not giving him any width at all could be an answer against Sehwag. If you stop him from scoring, he might get frustrated.”

Fraser had words of appreciation for Dhoni. “It’s not easy having to concentrate on every ball as a ’keeper and also think tactically as a skipper. He has performed the dual role well so far.”

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