AB de Villiers has his own way of using the bat. He uses it like a wand, a racket, even a golf club. Sometimes, if it suits him, three balls in succession. It might look to somehow strangely defy the immutable laws of nature, but his hitting is so good because he uses the physics of it so well. Exceptionally, in fact.
He unerringly succeeds in keeping a very low centre-of-gravity, giving him the balance to improvise his positions at the crease. He manipulates the length of the bowlers by moving back, across, away, and even towards the delivery. Coupled with this, he picks up the line of the ball freakishly fast, from the wrist position of the bowler. What we as the untrained eyes call unorthodox is advanced kinaesthetics displayed by a genius.
It's anticipation, preparation and execution in a fraction of a second, enough to scar a bowler for a lifetime. It induces gasps of disbelief for spectators and team-mates alike, but for him, it is as mundane as any Monday.
Before commencing the list, two honourable mentions - the switch hit and the reverse scoop; both didn't make the list because AB doesn't play them as often as the ones that made the cut. Here's a look at five shots of his in no particular order or ranking - because come on, each is in a class of its own.
The ball, once ramped while playing the Dilscoop, can clatter into his helmet if it doesn't get the right angle of elevation to sail over.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, the inventor of the shot played it against good length and slightly short of length deliveries and ramped it straight over the keeper's head, where there are no fielders.
Others, like Brendon McCullum, do it with a fair degree of success, but what's shockingly effective about the de Villiers version is that he can scoop it over the wicket-keeper, fine-leg and third man in at least a 120-degree arc. An inverted 'V' if you may call that. Captains can forget setting a field. It is of no avail.