One of the popular innovative shot of modern-day cricket is the ‘helicopter’ shot popularised by former Indian skipper and power-striker MS Dhoni. Brilliant hand-eye coordination, supreme back-hand power and the ability to anticipate the length of the ball are the key ingredients behind playing a successful helicopter hit.
Although, after MSD, many batters tried executing this high-risk shot, but nobody came close to the perfection of the Ranchi-born superstar.
However, not many fans know that much before Dhoni made the helicopter shot famous, former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin had, in fact, played the similar shot to punish the bowlers during his time.
Regarded as one the finest batsman and leader to have ever played the game, Azharuddin had once taken South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener to the cleaners, smashing him five back-to-back boundaries including the helicopter shot.
It all happened during the second Test between India and South Africa in 1996 at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Azhar was in his mood and slammed consecutive five fours to reach his century.
After hitting two boundaries in the over bowled by Klusener, Azharuddin went for a helicopter to dispatch the next delivery. The bowler bowled a yorker, but the Hyderabadi batter guided it towards mid-wicket for a boundary. He then smashed two more fours to make it five in a row.
Azharuddin slammed 109 off 77 balls at a phenomenal strike rate of 141.55 with the help of 18 fours and a six.
Here is the video:
Classic Azhar pic.twitter.com/DeRJjfQlzl
— Stone Cold (@StoneCo06301258) May 15, 2021
Azharuddin was one of the finest captains in the history of Indian cricket. He led Team India in as many as three ODI World Cups. The right-hander, who made his international debut in England in 1985, captained India in 221 matches across formats.
Azhar appeared in 99 Tests and 334 ODIs, accumulating 6215 and 9378 runs, respectively. He also has 29 hundreds and 79 half-centuries to his name in international cricket.