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Saturday, July 14, 2001

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Some interesting trademark shots

THE BEAUTY of cricket is that it generates so many interesting facets for discussion. It's appeal is so universal that new ideas constantly spring to life and a thinking cricketer can be so innovative that he will be associated with his new approach, much like any inventor or pioneer, and his name will long be associated with innovation.

The subject of this topic is `trademark' cricket and as the topic unfolds we will see how many enterprising cricketers have contributed to the range and repertoire of the game.

We have no documents to detail what W. G. Grace's favourite cricketing shot was but he must have been the pioneer of many a stroke being the `father of cricket.'

In our times we know that Rohan Kanhai was definitely the patenter of a new cricketing stroke. An apocryphal story goes that Rohan Kanhai who is of Indian origin was actually born Rohanlal Kanhiya and his name was changed to Rohan Kanhai in the West Indies.

Anyway Kanhai invented or patented the falling hook shot and he played it to perfection. One recalls listening to radio commentators going into raptures everytime Kanhai played the shot.

That particular stroke was also picked up by Alvin Kallicharan (another West Indian of Indian origin) and Kallicharan was also nicknamed as the left-handed Kanhai.

It is not very certain who patented the reverse sweep. But cricketers like Mike Gatting and our Kapil Dev suffered badly while attempting this innovative shot.

If anybody can claim to have perfected the reverse sweep, it is Zimbabwe's Andy Flower.

He is said to have constantly practiced the shot at the nets and it is no wonder that he plays it to perfection. Can anyone assist us in informing who the originator of reverse sweep is?

In discussing trademark shots can anyone leave out Sachin Tendulkar. The cricketing genius is surely the pioneer of the paddle sweep and this stroke has become a part of Tendulkar's repertoire not only in the Test matches but also in the one-day games. The shot was first played when bowlers adopted negative tactics bowling round the wicket from wide of the stumps into the rough.

However Tendulkar has also fine tuned the stroke to maximum effect using it repeatedly in both forms of the game.

There are other cricketing strokes that can be mentioned here. The Englishmen (was it Boycott or Botham?) countered the scorching pace of the Aussies with a deliberate steer over slips and well short of third man.

This shot picked up a number of runs for the Englishmen and was quite frustrating for the fast bowlers. Ravi Shastri was known for the `chappati shot' where he rolled over his wrists and flipped the ball on the leg-side.

The shot is said to resemble the rolling over of a chappati while being baked and Sunil Gavaskar reminds us that it is a favourite shot of youngsters playing in the by-lanes of Mumbai.

Krish Srikkanth played a number of shots which confounded the bowlers and there must be any number of other players who patented a particular stroke.

Rahul Dravid has a patent flick off his hips which has given him mixed results - boundaries as well as dismissals. The flat batted swat on the leg-side, the delicate leg glance, the exquisite late cut all have come off somebody's blade first and it will be interesting to know if any statistician or cricketophile can tell us the origin of these strokes and who played them first.

Among the bowlers we know that Bosanquet is credited with bowling the first googly and Saqlain Mushtaq pioneered the `doosra' or the one that goes the other way for the off-spinner. B. S. Chandrasekhar had something in his armoury that only he could produce and there must be other bowlers who have patented a particular delivery.

Who is the originator of the toe crushing yorker which Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis bowl so effectively. Surely the yorker must be a Pakistani patent.



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