Cricket is one of the oldest sports in the world. It is said that cricket has been played since the late 16th century. The first international match was played in the 19th century, and the first Test match was held in the year 1877. Cricket has been passed on by many generations, and the game has evolved in every stage of it.
From Test cricket to 60-over ODIs to 50-overs to the new T20 format, cricket has undergone a massive change throughout its existence. A new rule is invented with each passing decade, and as we all know, technology plays a big part in the modern era of cricket.
Just like the formats and rules, the style of playing cricket has also changed significantly. Professional players are not sticking to the traditional way of playing cricket now. There is a change in their batting, bowling, and also their fielding.
From MS Dhoni’s helicopter shot to Lasith Malinga’s unique bowling action, cricketers are redefining the meaning of this legendary game. Innovation is the key to progress in any field of work.
Bowlers always had many variations under their belt, but batters had to stick to their classic cricketing roots. However, as the years progressed, even the batters started adapting to the unconventional style of cricketing shots.
Batters like AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, and Suryakumar Yadav are the perfect examples of how inventing new shots can make a player immune to any type of bowling. Let’s have a look at the 7 most innovative cricket shots to date.
7 most innovative cricket shots to date
1) MS Dhoni’s Helicopter shot
The legendary skipper who handed India two World Cups also gifted the cricketing universe an antidote for yorkers. As we all know, yorkers are one of the toughest balls to face. A batter has to go all defensive while facing a yorker. However, the legendary MS Dhoni fears no bowler.
MS Dhoni introduced the helicopter shot to the world. The helicopter shot is when the batter flicks the ball while playing a yorker or a full-length delivery, with the bat being circled overhead. The batter has to use his bottom hand to generate all the power for the shot. If a batter masters the shot, he/she can use it to convert difficult yorkers into boundaries.
It is said that MS Dhoni learned this iconic shot from his childhood friend Santosh Lal. However, legendary cricketers like Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Kevin Pietersen, Chamara Silva, Aravinda Silva, and Abdul Razzaq have also played similar strokes to the helicopter shot in the past. Players like Hardik Pandya and Mohammad Shahzad can be seen playing the Helicopter shot every now and then.
PS: Execution is the key.
- Dilshan’s Dil-scoop
The Dil-scoop is named after the famous Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan. The Sri Lankan ace was known to play this unorthodox shot during his glorious cricketing career. The Dil-scoop shot is played by going on one knee to a good length delivery and flick or, as the name suggests, “scoop” the ball over the head past the wicketkeeper.
This shot is mostly played against a fast or a medium-fast bowler. Dilshan mastered this shot and majorly used it in the T20 format during the power-play overs. 9 out of 10 times, the ball clears the boundary rope as there is no fielder played behind the keeper. The rest of the time, well, it lands in the hands of the wicketkeeper.
- The reverse sweep
No batter has claimed the reverse sweep shot, but many have learned it to perfection. You might have often seen the likes of Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, or Kevin Pietersen going for a reverse sweep shot. However, former England skipper Eoin Morgan was known to play the best reverse sweep shots in the business. A reverse sweep shot is an efficient way to manipulate the field setting. As the name suggests, a reverse sweep shot is played in the opposite direction of a normal sweep shot.
A batter executes the shot by sweeping the ball in a horizontal arc from leg to off. A batter usually plays this shot while kneeling. The shot is majorly played to clear the boundaries and put the bowler under pressure to re-think his field adjustments. The reverse sweep is generally played against a spinner.
- The Upper Cut
The first two names which pop to our mind when we hear “the Upper Cut” shot is none other than the two Indian greats, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Both of the giants of Indian cricket absolutely aced this shot. Sehwag used to play the Upper Cut shot at every given opportunity. The Upper Cut shot is a work of art.
In the Upper Cut shot, the ball is directed towards the third-man boundary. The Upper Cut is played against a short ball that is pitched outside the off stump. Batters tend to try this shot when the third-man fielder is fielding inside the ring. This shot does not require any power, just timing and placement.
- The AB de Villiers Sweep
AB de Villiers is one of the main protagonists of the unorthodox style of playing. Even now players are termed as the “next ABD” when we see a glimpse of creativity in them. The latest example is the Indian batter Suryakumar Yadav, who is called the new “Mr.360” for his massive range of shots.
ABD’s sweep is one of the most difficult shots to master or even attempt to play. ABD used to move across the offside, showing all three stumps to the bowlers. The South African used to deceive the bowlers into bowling a good-length delivery which Mr. 360 used to convert into boundaries by sweeping it over the fine or the square leg.
- Kevin Pietersen’s Switch Hit
What is a switch hit? Something which Glenn Maxwell tries to play every second ball. Yes, and it is not a joke, Australia’s “Big Show” is obsessed with the switch hit. Kevin Pietersen was the first player to play this shot in international cricket. The Switch hit is the process of changing the stance from a righty to a lefty or vice-versa before the bowler delivers the ball. This shot is commonly played to get the better of the fielding placements.
It is a very risky shot as it can make you look like an utter fool if you miss it. Australia’s David Warner got clean bowled while trying to play the switch hit against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup 2022. However, one of David Warner’s switch-hits has also touched the top self of the MCG. India’s Ravichandran Ashwin was Warner’s victim in 2012.
- The Marillier Hit
One of the most iconic shots in the history books of cricket is The Marillier Hit. Named after the Zimbabwean cricketer Doug Marillier, the Marillier Hit has been played for decades.
The Marillier Hit is also known as the ramp shot, and Doug Marillier is known to be the first player to try this shot. The Marillier Hit is a type of scoop shot in which the batter snaps the ball over the keeper and the fine leg.
So that’s it. Here are the 7 most innovative cricket shots. Do let us know in the comments section which one is your favourite cricket shot.