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England v Australia - 1st Specsavers Ashes Test: Day One

5 cricketers with the most unusual batting stances

In cricket, the first and foremost batting rule that comes at the top of the coaching manual is the batting stance. A solid batting stance can take a batsman a long way in developing his technique.

Yet time and time again, we have seen batsman change their batting stance before a particular series or in preparation to face a certain kind of bowler. Aspiring cricketers are often advised to have a firm grip over their batting stance, which in turn can help them become better batsman in the future.

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However, the stance of a batsman keeps evolving as his career goes forward. Sometimes, it leads to unorthodox batting positions being adopted, which allows batsman immense freedom to execute strokes and play bowlers on the's former's terms.

A comfortable stance can often seem unusual to the naked eye. Here in this article, we look at five international players with the most unusual batting stances in recorded cricket history.

Note: This list is in no particular order.

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#1 Rory Burns (England)

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Rory Burns had a sublime Ashes 2019 series

There goes a funny saying that before every ball, England's Rory Burns hears something nasty coming in from the mid-on region, and hence his weird batting stance.

In an interview with ESPN UK, Rory Burns explained the reason for his funny stance. He accredited it to left-eye dominance. A natural left-hander, Burns wants to see the ball most with his left eye.

Burns' stance enables him to keep his head extremely still and in line with the stumps while holding his bat hanging in the air for a longer duration than most batsman would prefer. This helps the left-hander get an extra second to counter any short-pitched stuff directed at him.

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#2 Steven Smith (Australia)

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Steven Smith scored 774 runs in 4 Ashes Tests in 2019.

As already discussed before, no matter how peculiar and complicated the batting stance is, the only thing that matters for a batsman is how comfortable he is while facing a bowler.

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Former Australian captain, Smith's batting style is anything but orthodox."Complicated technique but an organised mindset" is how Steven Smith's batting technique is described by Sachin Tendulkar.

There have been two batting stances to Steve Smith- one before the 2019 Ashes series, and one after. Earlier, Smith carried an open chested batting stance with a shuffle across the off-stump line, which exposed his leg stump and made him play short deliveries with his weight going backward. It made him an easy target to be caught in the slips.

However, as fabulously explained by Tendulkar, Smith changed and sorted his stance mid-way between the 2019 Ashes series. After getting in trouble against the likes of Jofra Archer and his beaming short balls, Smith kept his guard and didn't shuffle across. Instead, he continued with his open chested stance and transferred his weight to the front foot. This helped him to avoid getting beaten or nicking short-pitched balls to the slip cordon.

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#3 Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies)

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Shivnarine Chanderpaul became famous early on in his career for having a different kind of batting stance.

The owner of possibly the weirdest batting stance in the world is Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Early on in his career, he was famed for having a different kind of batting stance. However, as his career moved forward, everyone started realising the technique behind his peculiar stance.

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Chanderpaul had an awkward-looking forward-arm position. He stood 90-degrees to the orthodox stance and shuffled to a normal one just before the bowler delivered the ball. This, in turn, gave him the freedom and the necessary power to play the ball anywhere he wanted to. With his head still as a rock, Chanderpaul could deliver strong blows on both sides of the wicket.

Despite his unusual stance, Chanderpaul scored runs aplenty and never felt the necessity to alter his batting stance till his retirement in 2015. The left-hander is one of two West Indies players, and 12 players overall, to score over 20000 runs in international cricket (11867 in Tests, 8778 in ODIs).

#4 Fawad Alam (Pakistan)

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Experts cited Fawad Alam's batting stance for his failure to excel on the international stage.

Fawad Alam of Pakistan is one of the unfortunate players not to have played much cricket at the highest level. Despite scoring heavily in domestic cricket, Alam was ignored by the selection committee on several occasions.

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Although he represented Pakistan in 3 Tests and 38 ODIs, Alam could never cement his place in the team's batting line-up. One reason that was cited by many experts for his failure to excel on the international stage was his unusual batting stance.

The left-handed Alam stands with his right foot facing 45-degrees diagonally to the bowler. His batting position is such that he shows all three stumps to the bowler before the ball gets delivered. As the bowler is about to release the ball, Alam takes a big leap, and settles to a more conventional stance. This batting stance, on most occasions, results in Alam playing with cross legs, making him susceptible to LBW's.

#5 Abhishek Nayar (India)

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Abhishek Nayar has three ODI caps and 60 IPL appearances to his name.

Former Mumbai and India all-rounder, Abhishek Nayar, also possessed a unique batting stance. Throughout his career, Nayar batted with a low stance, with the bat kept firmly between his legs.

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While facing particular bowlers or batting in different conditions, Nayar kept shuffling his batting stance, never settling on one consistently. The low backlift and centre of gravity gave Nayar control over his shot-making. With most of his body weight falling on the bottom leg, Nayar made full use of the other leg to play shots on either side of the wicket.

Although Nayar did not take a wicket or score a run in the 3 ODIs he played, the left-hand batsman made useful contributions for Mumbai in domestic cricket. The 36-year-old was also a handy contributor in the 60 IPL games he played for various franchises.

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Edited by
Bhargav
 
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