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These unconventional strokes have changed the way cricket is played

ICC celebrates birth of switch hit back in 2006 from the bat of England's Kevin Pietersen in a tweet. We take the opportunity to look at some of the improvisations and unconventional shots batsmen have introduced to cricket

On this day in 2006, cricket saw the birth of a new shot -- one that would join a select list of unorthodox and unique shots that no cricket manual or coach would teach or tolerate.

ICC celebrated the birthday of the switch-hit on Thursday in a tweet. England's mercurial batsman Kevin Pietersen played this shot for the first time against Sri Lanka at the  'Home of Cricket' -- Lord's during his innings of 158.

When KP gave birth to switch-hit, the the cricketing scene wasn't ready for it and there was controversy with a few players and experts claiming it was unfair on the bowler, as the field placements were according to the batting style of the player.

With the growth of T20 cricket, switch hit has now become an accepted stroke with explosive Australian opener David Warner one of its best exponents.

Cricketers are now more accepting and open to improvisations and trying out new and unconventional shots. 

Here are some of the more non-conformist and out-of-manual book shots:

Switch Hit

Kevin Pietersen plays the switch hitDelhi Daredevils Kevin Pietersen plays a switch hit during the IPL match vs Chennai Super Kings at The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi on April 10, 2012. Pic/AFP

Despite the reservations of most classicists, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee has kept the much-debated switch-hit as a legitimate part of the game. Kevin Pietersen changed the game when he switched from being a right-hander to a left-hander just before the ball was delivered. This differs from the traditional reverse sweep. Incidentally, Pietersen may have started the switch hit, but David Warner has made it his own. It's also called the 'palti' shot.

Dilscoop

Dilshan plays the 'Dilscoop'Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman Tilakaratne Dilshan hits a boundary using his trademark 'Dilscoop' shot during the IPL Twenty20 match against Deccan Chargersat the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on May 6, 2012. Pic/AFP

The shot is named after the man who made it famous -- Tillakaratne Dilshan. The Sri Lankan played the shot to perfection and so had it named for him. The shot has existed on the fringes for a while with Zimbabwe’s Doug Marillier and Western Australian Ryan Campbell the pioneers. The stroke has the batsman going down on one knee and 'scooping' the ball over the wicket-keeper's head. A famous example of the 'Scoop' backfiring is Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq improperly executing the stroke in the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 World Cup final against India off Joginder Sharma. Pakistan were 152/9 at the time and needed just 6 runs off 4 bowls, but Misbah handed the match to India as he was caught by Sreesanth. 

Upper Cut

The Upper Cut may be associated with former India opener Virender Sehwag, but it was first played in a Test in limited overs cricket by Sachin Tendulkar against Makhaya Ntini and Nantie Hayward. But Sehwag used it to deadly affect in the 2001 Bloemfontein Test against South Africa. With T20 gaining popularity, almost every batsman now has this shot in his arsenal.

Reverse Sweep

The most famous reverse sweep in cricket history was played by Mike Gatting in the 1987 World Cup final, in then Calcutta. Australia had made 253 for 5 and England captain Gatting was looking good on 41 when he attempted the reverse sweep to Allan Border off his first ball. England, 135 for two after 31 overs, was looking good for a win, but Gatting top-edged the delivery off left-arm spinner Border on to his shoulder and then to the waiting hands of Greg Dyer behind the stumps. The shot has come a long way since then with South African AB de Villiers and Australian Glenn Maxwell popularising the shot. It was first regularly played in the 1970s by the Pakistani batsman Mushtaq Mohammad, though Mushtaq's brother Hanif Mohammad is sometimes credited as the inventor. Cricket coach Bob Woolmer has been credited with popularising the stroke.

Helicopter Shot

MS Dhoni plays the Helicopter shotIndian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hits a six to give India victory over Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final played at The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2, 2011. Pic/AFP

It's the trademark shot of India limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni is the first player to play the shot with a great amount of success. He reportedly learned the shot while playing tennis ball cricket from a friend. Some of the others who have played the shot with some level of success are India's Virat Kohli, Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad and Australia's Ben Cutting. The shot helps cricketers to counter yorkers, but requires strong wrists to ensure the wrist work and bat speed.

Paddle Sweep

Sachin Tendulkar used this stroke to good effect against Shane Warne in the 1998 ODI tri-series at Sharjah. Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir has also used this shot regularly in the IPL. A paddle sweep shot is a sweep shot in which the ball is deflected towards fine leg with a stationary or near-stationary bat extended horizontally towards the bowler, whereas the hard sweep shot is played towards square leg with the bat swung firmly in a horizontal arc. 

Periscope Shot

Soumya Sarkar plays the periscope shotBangladesh cricketer Soumya Sarkar plays the periscope shot during the second T20 cricket match between Bangladesh and South Africa at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on July 7, 2015. Pic/AFP

Young Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar played a shot in a T20 match against South Africa last year and it was named the 'periscope shot'. Sarkar lofted a Kyle Abbot delivery over the short third man fielder David Weise. To execute the shot, Sarkar leaned back without moving his feet to the bouncer and caressed the ball over the wicket-keeper into no-man's land behind the stumps. This particular shot is a new and improved version of the upper cut. And Virat Kohli has since adopted it too. The International Cricket Council in its Facebook page has acknowledged Sarkar's 'periscope shot' as the latest innovation in the world of cricket. The ICC Facebook page described it as the 'periscope shot', alluding to how a periscope emerges out of a submarine in mid-sea, almost from nowhere. 

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