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Meet the Mumbai cricketer who invented the scoop shot

mid-day catches up with former Mumbai first-class cricketer Iqbal Khan, inventor of the scoop shot, made famous by Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan

When one thinks of the scoop shot, the image of Tillakaratne Dilshan immediately comes to mind. However, not many know that the shot famously used by the Sri Lankan star was first invented by Mumbai's first-class cricketer Iqbal Khan a couple of decades ago.

Iqbal Khan plays the scoop shot at the CCI last week. Pic/Atul Kamble
Iqbal Khan plays the scoop shot at the CCI last week. Pic/Atul Kamble 

The England-based Iqbal first used the scoop shot in a Ranji Trophy match for Mumbai 24 years ago. Iqbal is in the city on a short break. Mumbai were playing against Saurashtra in 1991-92 season at the Wankhede Stadium when Iqbal stunned everyone by effortlessly scooping the ball behind the wicketkeeper for a boundary. He scored 105 in Mumbai's first innings.

'Coach surprised'
"Former India Test cricketer, the late Hanumant Singh, who was our coach then, was also surprised, but was very happy to see an innovation in the middle. He patted my back and said 'miya, kya shot maara', " Iqbal (39) fondly recalled during a conversation with mid-day at the Cricket Club of India recently.

Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan plays a scoop shot during an ODI against England at the Lord's in London on May 31, 2014. Pic/AFP
Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan plays a scoop shot during an ODI against England at the Lord's in London on May 31, 2014. Pic/AFP 

The idea of inventing the scoop shot came while Iqbal was toiling in England's League cricket. With the ball not coming on to the bat nicely on some of the slower wickets, and runs becoming increasingly harder to score, Iqbal thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to scoop the ball behind the wicketkeeper. The experiment worked and Iqbal wasted no time in implementing it in the Ranji Trophy.

Vengsarkar lauds Iqbal
Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar lauded Iqbal's innovation when the emphasis was more on playing straight and along the ground. "Iqbal played the scoop shot really well. Batsmen were always on the look to find gaps and Iqbal found one behind the wicketkeeper. He tried it and was very successful at it," said Vengsarkar, who also recalled the famous falling sweep shots played by West Indian great Rohan Kanhai and India opener Ramnath Parkar during the 1950s and 1970s.

Iqbal Khan during his playing days
Iqbal Khan during his playing days 

Iqbal, who played Ranji Trophy for Mumbai and Assam between 1986 to 1998, counted himself lucky to have rubbed shoulders with some of India's greats. "It was an honour to play for Mumbai and lucky to be in the playing XI alongside great players like Sandeep Patil, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar," said Iqbal, who was part of the Ranji Trophy-winning team under Ravi Shastri in 1993-94.

Iqbal, however, felt T20 cricket is affecting Mumbai's cricket. "Temperament for longer version of the game is missing in youngsters because of T20 cricket," he signed off.

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