With the influence of white-ball format, the game of cricket witnessed a paradigm shift in the art of batting. Originally, cricket was a game of survival for the batsmen. But it was Sir Vivian Richards who showed the world how to play cricket aggressively.
However, the modern generation of batsmen, with the advent of T20 cricket has taken the art of shot-making to a different level altogether.
Now batsmen play shots in areas unfathomable for the purists. So, let’s have a look at some of the most innovative shots, the game of cricket has seen of-late:
Starting as an unconventional shot, a reverse sweep is used quite predominantly to upset the rhythm of spinners on tracks assisting them.
The sweep is a cross-batted shot intended to hit the ball towards the fine-leg area. However, the reverse sweep is a mirror of the conventional sweep. It is designed to use the gaps on the offside, in the point and fine-leg area.
Unlike a reverse-sweep, in the switch-hit, invented by Kevin Pietersen, the grip of the batsman changes while playing the shot. Also, the batsmen change their stance to open up the field on the offside.
In this shot, a right-hander, before the ball is delivered, becomes a left-handed batsman and slogs towards the original offside. The case is vice-versa for a left-hander. There is a question of ethics, however, with the modus operandi of the shot.
David Warner is one of the more celebrated exponents of the shot. One of Warner’s switch-hits reached the top-tier at MCG of Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling in 2012.
The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, and Andrew Flintoff were the masters of the paddle sweep. Unlike the conventional sweep, the bat comes down at a vertical arc to hit the ball between the wicket-keeper and the short-fine leg. The shot is also a great tool to rotate strike against a spinner imposing pressure.
Soumya Sarkar is the inventor of the Periscope to counter extra bounce from pacers. Albeit, Sarkar looks uncomfortable playing the shot coming at awkward lengths, with his head swaying away, ball clips the bat, and runs down the third man boundary.
Slash over Point
There’s not a shot more demoralizing than a Slash over Point, which sails over the boundary. Gone are those days when bowlers made batsmen smell leather with their short deliveries.
The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, and KL Rahul, use the extra pace from the bowlers to get a maximum out of a slash through point.
Inside-out is the hardest shots to play. The likes of Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, and Kane Williamson, are the masters of this shot.
The batsmen dance down the track, outside the line of the ball, to open up the field on the offside. Batsmen can either chip the ball for a double, or extend the arc of the shot to obtain a boundary.
Virender Sehwag has been one of the greatest proponents of the Upper-Cut. Much like the slash over point, Sehwag used the extra pace from deliveries on the short balls over the slips to get a boundary, sometimes even a maximum.
One batsman who caused a ruckus over the Indian bowlers during Zimbabwe’s tour of India back in the early 2000s was Douglas Marillier.
The likes of Zaheer Khan had no answer to Marilliers’ unconventional shots over the fine-leg, now called the ramp shot.
Tillakaratne Dilshan lit up white-ball cricket at the back-end of his career with his Dil-scoop, which is a ramp-shot, exactly over the wicket-keeper, unlike in the fine-leg region of Marillier’s ramp shot.
AB de Villiers revolutionized the art of batting by his reverse scoops on the offside and the ramp shots to the leg side for maximums.
De Villiers’ through his shots, showed the world that one could utilize all parts of the ground with his unique style. Only England’s Jos Buttler has been able to match De Villiers’ 360-degree prowesses in the recent past.
MS Dhoni is the inventor of the helicopter shot, which is intended to hit deliveries from Yorker and full-length deliveries over mid-wicket.
The arc of the blade in hand completes its arc in a circle twice, which generates enormous power through the Yorker deliveries. The likes of Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan have used the helicopter shot to hit many boundaries.
The sight of Dhoni hitting Lasith Malinga’s dreaded yorkers into the stands with a helicopter shot will be etched in the memories of cricket fanatics for years to come.