Tuesday 17 June 2008 

Styris And Swann Endorse Pietersen&#39s Switch-Hit

Not only does England batsman Kevin Pietersen's switch-hitting have the stamp of approval from the MCC but players on both sides have endorsed his left-handed sweeps.

New Zealand's Scott Styris, the bowler who Pietersen chose to play the shot against, said, "There's nothing wrong with what he's doing. As a bowler you have to think on your feet but it's nothing different to a guy coming down the wicket at you."

Pietersen changed from a right-hander's grip to a left-hander's before depositing Styris into the grandstand during the opening One Day International in Durham, which England won by 114 runs.

"Sometimes you just have to take your hat off and say 'well played'. We all admire good cricket and I think that is what it was," Styris told reporters at Edgbaston, venue for the second of five matches tomorrow.

Styris added that team-mate, left-handed Jacob Oram, had experimented with changing his stance before.

"I know he has hit balls out of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) batting right-handed," he said.

"It crossed my mind briefly when I was out there (batting) to play it but if I would have got out it would have been a double blow."

Pietersen's team-mate, off-spinner Graeme Swann, also backed his international colleague.

"It's brilliant, I can't understand the furore it has caused," he said. "It got 16,000 people leaving the ground talking about it. It's a freak of nature how he can do it. Those hits didn't just dribble over the line, they cleared it by a distance.

"Had he been caught people would have said 'what an idiot', like when (Mike) Gatting reverse swept and lost the World Cup in '87. For Kev to pull it off and to hit it as far as he did was laughable, it was pure KP. He does try it in the nets and he is almost impossible to bowl to when he decides to try things.

"I'm sure there will be other people trying it but I'm willing to bet there won't be another person in the world who could play that shot like Kev. We were gob-smacked in the dressing room."

England have recalled Andrew Strauss to the One Day International squad as cover for Alastair Cook, who has been ruled out of the match with a shoulder injury.