Cricket is known to be a gentleman’s game among other sports. In cricket, batting is known as the act of a batter scoring runs, preventing the bowler from dismissing him. It requires a vast amount of skill and concentration to execute the cricket shots in the stadium with all the fans cheering and supporting the teams. In earlier times, fans used to turn to watch their favorite players play beautiful and elegant cricket shots, but the tables have turned. With the growth in popularity of the shorter formats, the gameplay has become more rapid, and so has the run-making process. The elegant drives and wristy flicks have now changed to reverse sweeps and switch hits. The fast-paced gameplay makes the batters think outside of the box and find innovative ways to make runs. The high-scoring games, especially in T20 cricket, make the batsmen come out of the textbook shots and play freakish, unorthodox shots. But, there were certain batsmen earlier as well who used to play some signature shots that were both orthodox and unorthodox. We will take a look at the players and their unorthodox shots that changed the dynamics of the cricket game.
A-List of Unorthodox Shots Played in Cricket
The Ramp Shot
A Ramp shot is any shot played behind the keeper, whether the ball is short or full. The difference between a ramp shot and a normal shot is that very little power distribution is given to the bat. It is not a powerful thumping strike, but a more delicate touch. Even though the shot is mostly played to pacers, it is effective against spin also. The speed of a fast bowler is very effective while playing a ramp because nothing more than a touch is required to clear the boundary. It is one of the toughest shots to execute for many reasons. Firstly, we are not playing with a straight bat down the ground or to any of the sides. The shot is played behind the square of the wicket. The batter should have the skill to make connections with a ball coming at 90 mph and he has to adjust his batting position which allows him to scoop or ramp the ball behind the wicket. The position to which a batter gets himself at the time of contact is very important while playing this stroke.
Batters Who Plays the Ramp Shot
Marillier who represented Zimbabwe is one of the first batters to try this shot and be effective also. He used this as a weapon in his arsenal during death overs and added a precious amount of runs for his side. He was successful in adjusting his bat at the right time to make the ball past the keeper with ease. This shot then began to be termed the Marillier shot and the bowlers who were hit by him were termed Marillered.
Jos Butler from England is one of the most devastating batters in white-ball cricket.at present. He is very powerful and with his bottom hand he can take down any bowler. But, he is one of the few batters who are not afraid to ramp the bowler in the first over of a game itself. Butler ramps the bowlers both in power plays and death overs and it is his go-to shot to make the bowler unsettle.
The Reverse Ramp Shot
The Reverse Ramp shot is the same as the ramp shot but is played to the offside of the batter. Players usually ramp the ball to their leg side. In this case, the player has to take a position in order to deflect the ball to the offside behind the stumps.
Batters Who Plays the Reverse Ramp Shot
This reverse ramp was played only once by Dan Christian in a BBL game between Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars. Christian shifted to the offside to play a ramp but the baller followed him and he had to adjust his shot to ramp it to his offside.
The Scoop Shot
The Scoop shot is similar to a ramp but is played in a sitting position. Players usually ramp in a normal batting stance with their body upright and only bending enough to get to the pitch of the ball. The Scoop shot is when a batter kneels down to play a sweep shot-like position and scoops it to the backside of the stumps. The scoop shot is very effective against spinners as the bowlers tend to keep the line of the ball as straight as possible to get LBW into play. When a spinner is bowling, batters can premeditate the line of the ball and adjust themselves to play according to the length of the ball.
Batters Who Plays the Scoop Shot
Dilshan of Sri Lanka executed this by falling on one knee to a decent length or bit short of a length delivery from a fast or medium-paced bowler and scooping the ball over the wicket keeper’s head. Dilshan was brave enough to put his head down and scoop it even without looking at the delivery at the moment of contact. This shot later came to be termed Dilscoop.
Brendon McCullum is a New Zealand legend who plays the scoop straight over the keeper’s head that too against pacers. The McCullum scoop is played in more of a standing position by the legs going across the stumps. He had the courage to stand straight against pace bowlers and scoop it by bending his head with no vision of the ball at the time of contact.
The Reverse Scoop Shot
The Reverse Scoop is one of the most effective ways of scoring runs in modern-day cricket. It is a high-risk shot as the shot cannot be played with every kind of delivery. You can only reverse the scoop if the ball is in good length or full length. The risk element in playing the reverse scoop is to decide about the grip of the bat. Some players interchange their grip to get a free swing and sometimes players use their usual grip to play the reverse scoop.
Batters Who Plays the Reverse Scoop Shot
AB De Villiers
De Villers is one of the legends in white-ball cricket and he is one player who can play all sorts of unorthodox shots all around the ground. He is very innovative and can manipulate any field and find the ropes with ease. The reverse scoop was played by him a number of times both in international and franchise cricket. He is an unpredictable batsman who plays both flicks and shots to either side of the ground.
Maxwell is simply one of the most unorthodox cricketers at present. He takes a batting stand that is very unusual and that allows him to shift his grip easily to play reverse flicks and scoops. Interestingly, he doesn’t kneel down to play the scoop shots. Bowlers can straight away expect an audacious shot whenever he comes out to bat. He has earned himself the reputation of being the most unorthodox batter.
The Sweep Shot
The sweep shot is the most effective shot against spin bowling. It is a cross-batted shot played when the ball is delivered at a good length. A full-length delivery or a full toss can also be swept to perfection. It is played to a region from square to the backside of the legside. To maintain the balance, batsmen kneel down to get to the pitch of the ball and the weight is shifted to the back leg which allows the batter to literally sweep the ball away. It is the go-to shot for many foreign players in Asian conditions to counter the spin. There is a high chance that the batter might edge the ball up in the air because of the reason that it is a cross-batted shot.
Batters Who Plays the Sweep Shot
Andy Flower is considered to be the master of this particular shot. He is a Zimbabwean legend who played in the 90s and was the main wicket-keeping batter of the national side. He was one such player who could sweep any bowler at will and become extremely successful. He is forever remembered for his innings of 232 against India in the 1999 World Cup which included a whole lot of sweep shots.
Ross Taylor is a Kiwi legend and has always believed in playing the sweep stroke to upset opposing spinners and capitalize when they change lengths. Ross Taylor possesses one of the finest slog sweeps in the game and he also plays it aerially to clear the ropes. The contact is so pure and the Taylor sweep is pretty special to watch.
The Reverse Sweep Shot
Reverse sweep as the name suggests is a sweep shot played to the opposite side of the usual sweep shot. If normally the ball is swept to the leg side, then the reverse sweep is played to the offside. The reverse sweep is a fantastic boundary option as well as a terrific strategy to influence where the opposing fielders are placed. Most modern-day batters play this shot to unsettle the bowlers and it is easy if the batter is confident in clearing the inner ring of fielders. The batter can also go over the close fielders to play an aerial reverse sweep.
Batters Who Plays the Reverse Sweep Shot
Mushtaq was a Pakistani cricketer who introduced the unconventional reverse sweep shot to cricket. His elder brother who also played for the Pakistan side also played the shot to perfection. In the 1960s Mushtaq used to play this shot which is a default shot for many cricketers to get off the mark against spinners at present.
Eoin Morgan is England’s limited-overs captain and an extremely attacking T20 player who has an unusual batting technique. He holds the bat upright and plays the ball late. But, he has perfected the reverse sweep and he often plays this shot against the spinners to unsettle the bowlers. He changes the grip in order to get the elevation to take the ball up above the ring of fielders on the offside.
The Paddle Sweep
The paddle sweep is slightly different from the conventional sweep shot. Both the sweep shot and reverse sweep shot is played with power and the paddle sweep is a touch shot played behind the keeper. The ball can be padded away if it is low and full. It is a horizontal bat shot where the batter deflects the ball to the backside and it has a high risk as the chances of the batter getting trapped on LBW is very high. The bat should be down on top of the ball to execute this shot towards the fine leg.
Batters Who Plays the Paddle Sweep
Colin Cowdrey represented Kent and England in the 70s and was one of the first cricketers to have 100 test caps. The paddle sweep is said to be invented by him during his career. He excelled in both front foot and back foot and played the paddle sweep with an upright stance. The beauty of the paddle sweep is that the shot requires elegance and not power.
Sachin Tendulkar is known as the God of cricket and he was very innovative in trying new things to counter the strategies put by the opposition to dismiss him. He plays all the shots in the book and has other improvisations like the paddle sweep as well. He mastered this shot against Shane Warne and used to give the bowlers nightmare with his classic gameplay.
Paddle Broom Drive
The Paddle Broom Drive was an instinctive shot played by MS Dhoni only once in cricket. It is played with a reverse paddle grip, but instead of paddling the ball, it is driven back past the keeper on the leg side.
Batters Who Plays the Paddle
M S Dhoni
This shot was played by MS Dhoni during a match against the West Indies where Dhoni started to play the reverse paddle and then realized that the bowler was outside the leg stump. He was in an awkward position to paddle the ball. So, instead of paddling, he had to drive the ball past the keeper to the backside.
The Upper Cut
The uppercut is somewhat similar to the cut shot but played with a straight bat. The cut shot is played to the point region using a horizontal bat and the uppercut is played to the third man region above the slips and the wicketkeeper. It is played when the length is short and bowlers try to bounce off the batter. The short ball is gently pushed away by bending down and the ball would travel past the keeper and slip the cordon in a swift motion. Precision and timing is necessary and it is played mainly against pace bowlers who are extremely fast. Batsmen will be able to make good use of the pace of the ball.
Batters Who Plays the Upper Cut
Sachin Tendulkar added this stroke to counter the short deliveries in the 2000s. Sachin is the complete batsman of all time because he played all the conventional shots with beauty and ease. But, he was brave enough to be innovative and count every possible way of scoring runs. He used it notably during the 2007/08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia when he was continuously attacked by pace bowlers with bouncers. He used to bend back and make the ball fly to the third man region.
Sehwag was the batting partner of Sachin for a long time and he used to learn from the greats. When people like Sehwag saw Master Blaster play the uppercut with such precision, he began to imitate him as well. And with the introduction of T20 cricket, it became increasingly widespread. This stroke is very useful for batsmen who are unable to hook or pull at will. Sehwag plays it square rather than going past the slip region and adds little more power to the stroke as well.
The Switch Hit
The switch hit is one of the most innovative strokes that required a great amount of skill. It was introduced into cricket by Kevin Peterson when he literally turned to the other side to make himself look like a left-hander and power the ball across the ground. This shot can be used to manipulate the field because the fielders are there for a right-handed batter and if the batter is switching to the left hand, there is nothing much the fielders can do about it. The idea behind the shot is to find gaps between the default fieldset and clear the fence. It is played against spinners and requires a lot of skill.
Batters Who Play the Switch Hit
Kevin Pietersen used this stroke for the first time in a match against New Zealand. He hit Scott Styris for a six to mid-wicket by jumping square to make himself a left-hander. The field was set for a right-hander, and with the switch, KP was able to exploit the gaps in the field. Some people claim that the switch hit is unfair because the field is initially set for a right-handed batter. KP used this shot to good effect in tournaments like IPL also.
David Warner is another batter who can literally bat right-handed as well. Warner is addressed as a left-handed batter and he bats perfectly as most right-handed batters when he switches during the game. If Pietersen turns from right to left, Warner turns from left to right to strike the ball out of the ground. He has excellent timing playing as a right-handed batter. It is seen many times, how David warner manipulates the field by switching right-handed during matches.
Short arm jab
Short arm jab as the name suggests is played with very minimal bat swing. It is a shot played down the ground and not driven. This particular shot can be associated with a pull shot of little movement. The batter does not wing for almighty, rather he keeps the position to thump the ball with very little movement of the bat.
Batters Who Plays the Short Arm Jab
Paul Collingwood is a master of the short arm jab and this is a shot that every batter with a powerful arm can make good use of. The short arm jab is a slog, only without the massive bat swing. Paul Collingwood used to jab the ball instead of pulling it across the ropes and he was successful in clearing the ropes as well. He used to play this shot in all formats of the game and it helped him score quick runs.
Virat Kohli is a complete batter in all formats of the game and he is often known for his classic and conventional gameplay. He plays most of the classic shots with perfection and he likes to improvise based on instincts as well. The short arm jab is played by Virat when he thumps the ball down to the mid-wicket region instead of slogging or pulling the ball. This shot opens up the possibility of scoring a boundary with a very minimal swing of the bat, but it needs extraordinary timing.
The Helicopter Shot
This shot involves a wristy slap that has a lot of bottom hands. The term helicopter shot refers to the manner in which it is executed. The bat swing in this shot resembles the rotation of the blades of a helicopter and thus it came to be known as the helicopter shot. The shot is played on the leg side. A helicopter Shot is a very destructive shot that can get good results against yorkers. It requires a lot of bottom-hand power and many batters try to execute this shot against pace bowlers.
Batters Who Play the Helicopter Shot
MS Dhoni is reckoned to be the batter who introduced the helicopter shot. He played it during his international career and IPL with a lot of fans turning up to see him execute this shot. It is played exclusively when the ball is full of yorker length. The batsman’s whole weight is moved to his back in order to swing the bat at a delivery speed of roughly 140 km. PepsiCo even used this during a promotion for a T20 World Cup.
The inside outshot is played when a batsman tries to create room for himself to get a free swing of the bat. The batsmen run down the track to open up the offside. When the ball makes contact with the bat, it is easy for the batter to pick the gap or play a lofted drive over the fielder as he has a lot of space on the offside. The shot is best played by Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina. It is played by both left-handers and right-handers.
Batters Who Plays the Inside outshot
Gambhir used to play the inside out drive often at the start of his innings as well as during crucial times. It is one of his strongest areas where he makes room and lofts the ball over covers. All the match-winning innings played by Gambhir for India are filled with lofted inside out shots and he used to attack the pace bowlers by running down the track. He is an attacking batsman who is very strong through the offside and Gambhir used this stroke to counter the tight inner ring of fielders on the offside.
A hook shot is almost similar to a pull shot, but the pull shot can be played both on the front foot and the back foot. The hook shot is played behind the square on the leg side with a shuffle and the ball is lifted in the air. Natraj shot is the name of a hook shot played by Kapil Dev. But the main difference between a hook shot and a Natraj shot is that a hook shot is mostly played above the head whereas the Natraj shot is mostly played around the shoulder area.
Batters Who Plays the Natraj Hook
Kapil Dev was the first world cup winning captain of India and one of the best all-rounders to have played the game. The Natraj hook is named after the hook shots played by Kapil Dev. The ace cricketer’s posture resembled Lord Nataraja’s spectacular dance figure, as he twisted his body while elevating his left leg. Meanwhile, he would swing his bat to the left, and the ball would bounce off his bat at a 180-degree angle.
Periscope is a shot invented by the Bangladeshi opening batsman Soumya Sarkar. To play periscope, Sarkar holds his bat in the air and then clips the ball with it towards the short fine leg. It is similar to the uppercut, but the difference is that Sarkar doesn’t bend his body or push the ball with the bat. He touches the ball making it fly over the keeper with a 90° straight bat.
Batters Who Plays the Periscope
The Periscope shot is played only by the Bangladeshi Cricketer Soumya Sarkar. It is his go-to shot against a short-length ball delivered at chest height straight to the body. He maintains his shape and deflects the ball straight past the keeper’s head. He plays this shot frequently against pace bowlers and uses their speed to good effect.
Natalie Sciver produced an unconventional stroke, the nutmeg shot, during the 2017 Women’s World Cup. Sciver rotated the bat in her hands before striking the ball and her bat face turned back towards the keeper and the ball went between her legs. It was like how footballers nutmeg their opponent and thus this shot came to be known as the Nutmeg shot.
Batters Who Plays the Nutmeg
Natalie Sciver is a powerful batter and is very innovative as well. This happened to be a reflex involuntary shot when she used this stroke on toe-crushing yorkers and found a way to slip it between her knees off the bat. She literally nutmegged herself with the stroke and was later termed the nutmeg shot.
One Hand Swat
The one-hand swat is a shot seen when the bottom hand of the batter comes off the grip at the time of contact. This can be seen many times during international matches where the batter lets go of the bottom hand to get the elevation to take the ball deeper across the boundary.
Batters Who Plays the One Hand Swat
Rishabh Pant is a young attacking batter who often plays the one-hand swat on international stages. What makes him different from other batters is that he is able to produce enough power at the time of contact and even though he lets go of the grip at the last minute, it would never look like a miss-hit. He often plays this shot when he tries to clear the straight boundary and mid-wicket.
The yorker cut is the latest variable of the late cut and is played especially to yorker balls. This shot is one of the hardest to execute and it is played when the ball arrives at yorker length. Instead of pushing the ball to the leg side, the ball is guided or cut from the stumps to the third man region. It is a very risky shot and the chances of the batter getting bowled are very high.
Batters Who Plays the Yorker cut
Babar Azam is a classic batter who plays for Pakistan and he is well known for his conventional cover drives and cut shots. Better than that, he is a master of the yorker cut stroke where he maintains his position and slightly moves to the leg side and provides himself enough time to cut the yorker ball to the boundary.
Walking Front Foot Pull
The walking front foot pull is played by batters with a cross bat. The batter charges at the bowlers by stepping down the track and pulls it straight over his head. It is an unusual way to approach a pace bowler and requires strength and power to take down the bowler. The shot is very risky because there is a high chance of the batter edging the ball in the air at the time of contact. It is played by Robin Uthappa and Matthew Hayden.
Batters Who Plays the Walking Pull Shot
Robin Uthappa is known as “ The Walking Assassin” for playing the walking front foot pull. He charged down to bowlers like Brett Lee and Bracken to take them downtown with his powerful stroke. It is his signature shot and has fans all around the world for this particular way of scoring runs. It is the most unorthodox way to play a short ball and he makes it look so easy by cross batting it down the ground.
No look six
This is a shot that has a lot of swag and has fans all around the world. This is the new way of striking the cricket ball to get more elevation. The batter maintains the posture and keeps his head low at the time of contact. Andre Fletcher of West Indies is one of the first batters to display this shot on the field. It has been imitated by many international players and has fans all around the globe.
Batters Who Plays the No Look Six
Fletcher is a batter who plays for the West Indies and is called the specimen and his no-look sixes are a treat for the eyes. This shot gained popularity after Fletcher began to hold the pose keeping his head down at the time of striking the ball. Even though the ball is played to the leg side, its head of Fletcher does not move towards the area and is kept straight and down.