Douglas Marillier and his famous scoop shot that took cricketing fraternity by storm
"How about that for a bit of improvisation? He's walked across the stumps. This is what he did with Glenn McGrath, he walked across the stumps and this time, he's just trying to paddle it around fine of the leg side," exclaimed the commentator Mpumelelo Mbangwa and an equally surprised Sanjay Manjrekar added, "This is the first time I have seen a sweep played on the off-side. That's quite amazing. Can't call it a paddle sweep as well."
This was the introduction of the scoop shot to the then 8-years old yours truly. Chasing a target of 275 at the Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad, Zimbabwe were struggling at 233/8 but Douglas Marillier started to write a whole different story when he played a unique shot by shuffling across the off-stump and guiding the low full-toss by Zaheer Khan over the keeper's head to the boundary line.
He anchored his team towards a sensational 1-wicket victory in the 1st ODI against India in 2002 by registering a phenomenal knock of 56* off 24 deliveries whilst batting at no.10 position. The way he took on the Indian bowlers by bringing such a unique innovation to the table to deliver under pressure was magnificent to watch and the entire cricketing fraternity admired his gutsy knock and zeal to fight till the end for his team.
However, this was not the first time he tried the famous "Marillier Shot" or the "Marillier Scoop". As you can infer from the introduction paragraph, he did try this shot against Australia at Perth. In an ODI encounter against Australia in 2001, he twice guided 2 low full tosses by Glenn McGrath towards the rope. In a thrilling battle, Zimbabwe lost the match by 1 run.
Here's the video (against Australia):
Although there are certain debates regarding the invention of the scoop shot, one thing is for sure that Marillier was certainly one of the earliest batsmen to popularize this shot. He played 5 Test matches and 48 ODIs for Zimbabwe in his cricketing career. An aggressive unconventional batsman by nature, Douglas was a handy off-spinner and delivered with the ball on distinct occasions. He could also keep wickets quite well.
At the age of 16, he was involved in a horrific car crash which led him wheel-chair bound for 3 months. There was a big question mark on his cricketing career but he bounced back like a champ and earned a spot in the national team later on.
His contribution towards Zimbabwean cricket is not only limited to the victory over India and the scoop shot. In an ODI game against England in 2001, he single-handedly shifted the momentum of the match towards his side by scalping 4 wickets in order and breaking a solid partnership of 95 between the openers Marcus Trescothick and Nick Knight.
As an opener, he registered a terrific century against Kenya in Sharjah in 2003. He has 3 and 2 half-centuries in his ODI and Test career respectively. His career was short but quite unique as he has opened as well as played at no.10 position. Also, he has taken 41 wickets in his career as well as kept wickets.
Dougie Marillier is one of the forgotten cricketing sensations. He quit Zimbabwe cricket in 2004 and in 2010, he was surprisingly named in a provisional squad for Zimbabwe tour of West Indies alongside the former Zimbabwean cricketer Andy Blignaut.
Although his international cricketing career was quite short, he certainly made a name for himself. Presently, he runs his family business in the real-estate sector.