And now for something completely different: The reverse sweep in cricket

The ICC Champions Trophy matches are going on in England right now, featuring the eight highest ranked cricket playing nations in the world. I have been watching the games from time to time, especially the ones involving Sri Lanka.

Cricket has undergone many changes since I watched it as a boy and one new batting development is the introduction of the ‘reverse sweep’. The regular sweep is an elegant stroke that has long been in the repertoire of the best batsmen. But the reverse sweep is where (say) a right-handed batsmen at the very last minute plays the shot as if he were left-handed, catching the fielders off-guard. It looks very ugly to me since the footwork is all wrong.

Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardane, one of the best players in the game, is a very stylish batsman who is a joy to watch but I cringe whenever he plays this shot. Here is the right-handed Jayewardane playing the regular sweep.

Here he does the reverse sweep.

I have to admit though that when he does it, it does not look too awful and is effective at scoring runs.

I am guilty of being a cricket purist, valuing style over actual results.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    That is similar in concept to the baseball practice of “switch-hitting,” but in baseball you must stand on one side of the plate or the other, and are not allowed to step on it while batting. I.e. you must signal your switching in advance by choosing which side of the plate to stand on.

  2. Mano Singham says

    I have no opinion on it because I have no idea how it works. But I appreciate that it is a very difficult problem to find a fair way to decided a shortened match.

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