How Tillakaratne Dilshan invented the ‘Dilscoop’
With the advent of T20 cricket in the last few years, cricket has seen many new and innovative shots being played by batsmen. Some of these have created huge media uproar too, like the switch hit by Kevin Pietersen, the helicopter shot by MS Dhoni and the Dil Scoop invented by Tillakaratne Dilshan.
The Dil Scoop was the most talked about shot during the 2009 T20 World Cup in England, when Dilshan used it to mesmerise bowlers and scoop his way to the top of batting charts in that tournament. Let us have a look a little more closely at this particular shot, and what made Dilshan develop such a unique stroke.
How did Tilakratne Dilshan develop the Dil Scoop
Dilshan has himself told in many interviews the story behind his ramp shot, popularly known as the Dil Scoop. He used to play a lot of tennis ball cricket in Sri Lanka, mostly on the streets. Sometimes, there is not much space to hit on either side of the wicket, and hence the option to score runs there is limited. So Dilshan started targeting the spot over the wicket keeper’s head, as a convenient area to score runs.
So, this unique, sometimes crazy looking shot has its origin in a simple street-smart cricket decision, taken by a young player playing the sport on the streets of his hometown. Amazing, isn’t it?
Comparison between Dil Scoop and behind the wicket scoop shots of Douglas Marillier
When Dilshan first started playing the Dil Scoop regularly in the 2009 T20 World Cup, there were few people who compared his shot to the one played by Douglas Marillier, early in 2002. Marillier played a scoop shot, where we went beside the line of length balls and scooped them towards the fine leg region. He used this shot effectively against bowlers of the calibre of Glenn McGrath and Zaheer Khan.
Some Indian fans would still remember the Faridabad ODI against Zimbabwe in 2002 when Marillier did the impossible and scooped his way into history. Zimbabwe needed nearly 65 runs in the last 34 balls and had only two wickets left. Marillier launched into Zaheer Khan and used his scoop shot to score 20 runs in his over. It changed the fate of the match and took Zimbabwe to the most unlikely of ODI victories.
However, this is a difference between the ‘Marillier Scoop’ and the ‘Dil Scoop’ played by Dilshan. While Marillier used to scoop the ball over the fine leg region, Dilshan went straight over the keeper’s head with his scoop shot. It could be argued that Dilshan’s shot was the trickier of the two and involved a higher degree of skill and risk to go with it.
The Legacy of the Dil Scoop and Inspiration for future generations
The Dil Scoop will remain one of the most talked about shots in cricket folklore, even in the coming many years. Dilshan himself has commented on the significance of this shot in his career:
“I have always wanted to do something special. Millions of people watch cricket and I wanted to have a special place for myself in their hearts. People forget a player after he retires. But I will continue to live through 'Dilscoop'. That's why I created this new shot. It totally changed my batting style and gave me a lot of confidence.”
It will also be an inspiration for the next generation of budding cricketers to innovate, invent and rewrite cricket history in their own unique ways. Hope we can see more such innovative, freakishly amazing shots in cricket in the years to come.