Cricket continues to evolve, adapt and get better. While wickets have, in some cases, become more batsmen friendly, batsmen themselves have also become a little bit more cunning. They are always inventing new shots to help their game. Some of these might have caused some controversy, but they have always delighted those who watch the game.
In a piece for The Telegraph, Simon Hughes wrote about how these shots should be encouraged and not penalised. Hughes wrote:
The infinitely varied ways that batsmen find to make runs, and strategies that bowlers evolve to stop them, is what keeps cricket endlessly fascinating. Innovation should not be penalised but encouraged. It's all part of the balancing act that the newly-elected head of the ICC, Dave Richardson, an excellent and eminently sensible man, is charged with maintaining.
He is quite right. Cricket needs to continue changing if it hopes to remain relevant in an era where things are always being modernised and made more exciting. Luckily, there are a number of pioneers always doing things differently. Here are four shots which didn't exist 20 years ago. What's your favourite?
MS Dhoni is known for many things, one of them is the superb helicopter shot he has been playing recently. The shot even has its own Facebook page.
The Indian captain has said that he learnt it on tennis ball cricket from his friend Santosh Lal. Lal sadly passed away from pancreatitis earlier this year at the tender age of 29.
According to DNAIndia's Derek Abraham, the helicopter shot is when "the batsman digs a yorker ferociously with the bat forming a whipping arc in the follow through."
Tillakaratne Dilshan's Dilscoop was first unveiled during the ICC World T20 in 2009. The shot is played by getting on one knee and scooping a short of length delivery over the keeper's head.
Dilshan started to practice the shot during his IPL stint with the Delhi Daredevils. Some have argued over the originality of the shot, as documented here by the Eurasia Review's Shenali Waduge:
There has been some controversy on whether the Dilscoop is identical to the Marillier or Paddle scoop. However according to former Australian captain Ian Chappell who was a commentator in the aforesaid ICC World Twenty 20, he had never seen any batsman play the ball straight over the wicket keeper’s head as Dilshan clearly do es, thus its originality.
The shot also has another name: The McScoop, after Brendon McCullum, who also often uses it.
Doug Marillier doesn't get nearly as much credit as he should for his part in popularising the now common ramp shot.
Another sort of scoop shot, in which a batsman flicks the ball backwards and past the keeper. He first played the shot during a tri-series between the West Indies, Australia and Zimbabwe. Marillier took on Glenn McGrath, and with Zimbabwe needing 15 to win off the last over, Marillier unveiled the shot twice. His efforts weren't enough, though, and Zimbabwe lost by one run.
Although it remains a risky shot, more batsmen take the risk and play the shot these days.
Quite possibly the most popular and certainly the most controversial invented shot of recent times, Kevin Pietersen's switch-hit is something to behold. It simply involves the batsman changing his stance from right- to left-hander or vice versa during a bowler's delivery stride. It has caused great debates on whether it was fair.
The shot is still legal now, and it takes a great amount of skill to execute it.