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A scoop full of runs

This shot attempted by Misbah-ul Haq cost Pakistan the T20 World Cup in 2007 but in less than two years, the scoop almost over the wicketkeeper’s head has become a profitable and widely played shot in the shortest version of the game, writes Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2009 23:33 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

This shot attempted by Misbah-ul Haq cost Pakistan the T20 World Cup in 2007 but in less than two years, the scoop almost over the wicketkeeper’s head has become a profitable and widely played shot in the shortest version of the game.

Not just T20, this shot was seen frequently in the recent Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy one-day games too. Batsmen playing it were probably trying to perfect it ahead of the IPL because there was an abundance of such hits in the competition last year.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/images/cricket1.jpg
Rohit Sharma plays a scoop

So even as the grey-haired in the stands grimaced, batsmen kept getting inside the line of the ball and took it from outside off to send it fine to the left of the wicketkeeper with a late and largely bottom-handed flick of the wrists. At times, the ball hit the stumps too.

Invented arguably by Zimbabwe batsman Douglas Marillier, who used it in a winning cause in an ODI against India in 2002, this shot has become a profitable one in situations when the fine-leg fielder is inside the circle. It looks dangerous because a batsman normally ends up exposing the stumps while playing it. But these days, they have reduced the risk by playing it from outside off which eliminates the chance of being clean-bowled.

Coaches of the older generation don’t prescribe this. “I’ll never tell a youngster to try that,” said Debu Mitra who worked on the technique of Sourav Ganguly..

Paras Mhambrey is a coach of the current generation with no inhibitions. “The game is evolving and you can’t be predictable. This is an effective shot to put a question mark in the bowler’s mind…he can never be sure which line to bowl.”

Not much has been heard of Marillier who quit international cricket in 2004 in pursuit of a professional career in England. Wherever he is, the Zimbabwean might rue that copyright rules in cricket are restricted only to telecast.