With the advent of the white-ball format, the game of cricket witnessed a model shift in the art of batting.
Sir Vivian Richards was one of the first players who pioneered the art of aggressive batting. Then there was Sanath Jayasuriya who has since been followed by countless other batsmen unafraid to take on the bowlers.
Ever since the introduction of T20 cricket, batsmen have started to think differently and have played some shots that were unthinkable a while back. On that note, let us have a look at nine of the most innovative shots the game of cricket has ever seen.
Nine of the most innovative shots in Cricket:
9. The ABD Sweep
The flexibility and the reflexes AB de Villers possesses are second to none. He can generate enough power off the back foot to hit a ball down the ground for a six, something very few players in the history of cricket have been able to do.
One of De Villiers' most used shots is his unique sweep. He moves across to the offside and shows his stumps to the bowlers or just moves around in the crease. The bowler bowls a full or good length delivery and this is when Mr 360 Degree sits low and sweeps the ball over fine leg or square leg.
8. The Marillier Hit
Prior to the advent of the ramp shots and slightly before the emergence of T20 cricket there was a little known or remembered Zimbabwean cricketer by the name Doug Marillier.
He is often regarded to be the inventor of the ramp shot. The Marrillier shot or the ramp shot is another sort of scoop shot in which a batsman flicks the ball backwards and over the keeper and fine leg.
This shot was not known about two decades ago but is now played by almost every other batsman. England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler is one batsman who plays this shot to perfection almost every game.
7. The Switch Hit
The name itself explains the shot. A switch hit is a modern-day cricketing shot. It involves effectively changing one's batting stance from a right-hander to a left-hander (or vice-versa) just before the ball is delivered by the bowler.
The switch hit shot requires a lot of power and confidence to be executed. Kevin Pietersen was the first player to play this shot in cricket.
Australian stars David Warner and Glenn Maxwell are the other two who play this shot regularly. One of Warner’s switch-hits reached the top-tier at MCG off Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling in 2012.
6. The Paddle Sweep
A sweep is a cross-batted cricket shot played to a low bouncing and turning ball.
A paddle sweep shot, on the other hand, is a sweep shot in which the ball is deflected towards fine leg with a fixed or near-stationary bat extended horizontally towards the bowler.
AB de Villiers hits fast bowlers behind the wicket with this shot. This cheeky shot was also efficiently used by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid when facing spinners on turning tracks.
5. The Upper Cut
The upper cut shot in cricket was played in amazing fashion by the dynamic opening dup of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. It was regarded among Sehwag’s most innovative cricket shots.
It is usually hit towards the third man region on deliveries with extra bounce usually pitched outside the off stump. The batsmen sit under the rising short ball and guide it over the slips to the third-man boundary.
This shot is very frequently used against quick pacers who bowl short balls very often. It is usually played when the third man is inside the ring.
4. The reverse sweep
A reverse sweep is a cross-batted sweep shot in cricket that is played in the opposite direction to the standard sweep.
Thus instead of sweeping the ball to the leg side, it is swept to the offside, towards a backward point or third man. It has become an almost quintessential part of any batsman's armoury in the modern game.
The shot can be used in any of the three formats and it is a potent way to tackle spinners and even pacers.
England captain Eoin Morgan probably plays this shot better than anyone in the world. AB de Villers and Glenn Maxwell are also among a few active players who use the reverse sweep quite often.
3. The reverse ramp shot
The reverse ramp shot is one that cannot be described in much detail it has only been played once in cricket.
In a Big Bash T20 cricket game between Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars, Dan Christian moved to his offside to give himself some room and play the normal ramp shot. The bowler followed him and bowled a full toss outside off.
It was when Dan Christian's innovation came to the fore and he played a stunning reverse ramp shot.
It is moments like these in cricket where you feel for the bowler but also applaud the innovation and quick thinking of the batsman.
The Dilscoop was invented by Tillakaratne Dilshan and so this cricket shot is named after him as well.
The stroke is played by going down on one knee to a length or a short of a length delivery. It is played off a fast or medium-paced bowler.
The ball is scooped or chipped over the head of the wicketkeeper. The ball is intended to travel to the boundary right behind the wicketkeeper. This shot was used to good effect by Dilshan, especially in the power-play.
1. Helicopter Shot
Who hasn't heard about MS Dhoni's helicopter shot? Undoubtedly it is the most famous cricket shot in the Indian subcontinent.
Captain Cool used to play this shot ever since he was a child. It was invented by him and the first name that comes to mind when you hear about this shot is Dhoni's.
The helicopter shot in cricket is one where the batsman flicks the ball toward the leg side when facing a yorker or a fuller-length delivery, finishing the stroke with a flourish by twisting the bat in an overhead circle. The shot is used to hit over mid-wicket. This shot is not easy to play and requires a considerable amount of strength.
The likes of Hardik Pandya and Mohammad Shahzad have also played this shot at times.
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