November 29 2018
There are plenty of shots in the cricket manual. Some are basic, some are necessary, some are extravagant but all of them have been invented by some player or the other. Some of these are so iconic that they are associated with the batsmen who first created or perfected them. Here are 7 such shots:
1. The Upper Cut: It’s a very inventive shot where you bend backwards under the rising short ball and lift it over third man. There have been instances of others having played the shot before but no one hit them for six with such amazing consistency or such perfect poise as Sachin Tendulkar. How he practiced the shot while playing in the nets is anyone’s guess!
2. The Switch Hit: There are claims that Jonty Rhodes played it decades ago but the switch hit will forever be associated with Kevin Pietersen. It is when, for an instant, a left hander turns into a right hander or vice versa to smack the ball to the off side. Players like Glenn Maxwell and David Warner use it consistently now but it was Pietersen who introduced it to the world.
3. The Paddle Shot: Douglas Marillier had a modest international career but he will always be remembered by Indian cricket fans for one innings where he famously snatched victory for Zimbabwe with repeated use of his inventive paddle shot. He continuously lifted the ball over the wicketkeeper to the fine leg boundary as the Indian bowlers lost the plot. Sri Lanka’s Tilakaratne Dilshan later trademarked the shot which has now come to be called the Dilscoop.
4. The Leg Glance: One of the most delicate shots in cricket, it was invented almost a century ago by the venerable Ranjitsinjhi. It was a calculated push of the hips to nudge the faster ball and let it race to the boundary with minimum effort. It is a staple shot for most batsmen now but it needed some imagination to be attempted back then.
5. The Reverse Sweep: A very unconventional and extremely difficult shot, it is believed to have been introduced in the 1960s by Pakistan’s Mushtaq Mohammed. There are some claims that his elder brother Haneef invented it and there is no concrete proof for either claim but at least we can safely say that it belongs in the family.
6. The Reverse Scoop: If you think the reverse sweep is tough, you should watch AB de Villiers spin at the crease as he plays the reverse swoop. A very delightful shot if it connects well, it is a very dangerous shot if you mistime it. There is a reason AB is called Mr 360 because this shot over the third man is very useful in T20 cricket.
7. The Helicopter Shot: Saving the best for the last, this unconventional shot is typical MS Dhoni. It requires astute timing and brute force to swat the ball over the boundary with a strong bottom hand. The flick of the bat in a circular motion almost always sends the ball into the stands if there is a strong connection.