The game of cricket has evolved remarkably over the years—many rules and formats have changed. The popularity of the game has surged to attract a wide-ranging audience from all over the world. Thus, cricket is currently the second most-watched sport in the world.
It has always been captivating to witness Ricky Ponting effortlessly executing the pull shot; similarly, watching Saurav Ganguly annihilate the off-side field was a treat to the eyes. At the same time, one can never forget Rahul Dravid’s flawless defense and Azharuddin’s wristy class. Top cricketers have always possessed the skill to decimate strokes in the manner they are supposed to be executed. It takes a very skilled player to make difficult cricketing shots appear seamless and perfect—and you should consider yourself lucky for watching such players on TV.
Check out six outstanding players and their jaw-dropping trademark shots.
Paddle scoop – Douglas Marillier
Douglas Marillieris was the first cricketer who dared to go against the rule book. The Zimbabwean player swept his feet under the ball that was tossed on the off stump to scoop it over the field. This brilliant shot is now known as ‘Paddle Scoop’ and Marillier first played it against the Australian player Glenn McGrath, at Perth—that too in the last over—guiding Zimbabwe to a memorable victory.
Upper Cut – Sachin Tendulkar
The legendary Indian cricketer Master Blaster is the originator of the brilliant Upper Cut shot. Earlier pace bowlers often intimidated Indian batsmen by pitching bouncers. But Tendulkar devised a genius shot, instead of hitting the ball with a flat bat, he hit the delivery at its peak— tilting the bat upwards, propelling the ball into the stands. The uppercut shot first left its mark in the 2003 World Cup—against Pakistan.
Dilscoop – Tillakaratne Dilshan
The destructive opener and Sri Lankan cricket legend—Tillakaratne Dilshan—founded the Dilscoop shot and induced chaos and fright among the bowlers. He played this genius stroke by using one knee to go down to hit a length delivery, bowled by a medium or fast-paced bowler. In Dilscoop, the ball subtly scoops over the wicket keeper's head—aiming to touch the boundary.
This shot uses the bowler’s pace to touch the boundary, frustrating the bowler by all means, who executed a flawless delivery!
Helicopter Shot – MS Dhoni
The most brilliant cricket shot played by any Indian player was found by the Captain cool— Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The unique shot is played when the batsman brilliantly flicks the delivery toward the leg side when receiving a fuller-length or yorker—by swinging the bat in a circle over the head. It requires considerable strength to play the helicopter shot, and it is not an easy one.
Reverse scoop – AB De Villiers
A smart bowler, a stiff pitch, and a firm field can make scoring runs difficult, even for brilliant players like AB De Villiers. But, the South African batsman finds a unique way to score runs in such situations—he uses the reverse scoop to decimate the bowler’s every attempt to slow down the flow of runs. The reverse scoop uses the ball’s pace tossed on the offside, and Villiiers alters his stance to reverse and scoop the delivery over the in-field to score a boundary.
Switch Hit – Kevin Pietersen
Switch hit requires impeccable innovation and technique and it is the reverse scoop’s super-advanced version that is effortlessly swept to the fence. When Kevin Pietersen hit this genius shot, he instantly switched his stance from left-handed to right-handed or vice versa—in seconds—to sweep the ball over the boundary.
With cricket emerging as one of the most-watched sports in the world, innovation will continue to play a key role in the game. Apart from improving the game, the players have also evolved over the years. This change has been aided by the adoption of numerous innovative techniques of batting and bowling. Batsmen now score runs, employing shots that were unimaginable even a decade ago.