IPL 2024: Batting and bowling variations popularised by T20 | Crickit

IPL 2024: Batting and bowling variations popularised by T20

Mar 23, 2024 11:07 AM IST

Cricket’s shortest format brings creativity to the fore

Even the fiercest critics of the Indian Premier League (IPL) would admit one thing. The tournament and the T20 format breed ingenuity.

Dinesh Karthik plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru(AFP)
Dinesh Karthik plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru(AFP)

Unorthodox shots and deliveries in cricket are not new. The ‘slower ball’ dates back to England’s Bill Lockwood in the late 1890s and earlier 1900s. India’s K Srikkanth played the ‘switch hit’ in the 1980s.

But variations used to be occasional, exotic sightings. T20 and IPL have accelerated their frequency.

Here are five examples.

Switch Hit

It is a twin of the reverse sweep. Both turn the definition of the conventional sweep on its head. Just that in the switch hit the position of the hands on the bat handle is changed.

Some believe the shot should be banned, because it is unfair to the bowler if a right-hander suddenly plays like a left-hander or vice-versa. Recently Kevin Pietersen, a Mr Miyagi of the switch hit, and Harsha Bhogle debated the legitimacy of the shot. But for now, switchcraft is kosher.


Douglas Marillier of Zimbabwe first played this most audacious shot nearly two decades ago, shoveling the ball over the keeper. Tillekeratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka developed it further. Hence the name Dilscoop.

There are batsmen who try the shot on length deliveries. Dilshan said he preferred to play it off shorter deliveries. If, after getting into position, he found the ball was full, he would play the paddle sweep instead. Try this shot only if you are any good, or drunk.

Wide Yorker

There was a time when the yorker alone was enough to rattle batsmen. But with the profusion of matches and video analysis, batsmen got better at facing yorkers, often changing their crease position to nullify the ball.

Bowlers then started aiming the yorker away from the batsmen. All hail the wide yorker. The ball is no longer in the wheelhouse of the batsman and can end up being a dot or inducing an edge. The wide yorker is now a must in any T20 attack and not a sign of bad aim.

Slow Bouncer

As many as 23.2 per cent of all the deliveries at the 2021 T20 World Cup were slow deliveries. Off-pace deliveries are so integral to T20 cricket that there are multiple variations to them. And one of the effective ones is the slow bouncer. It often produces a false stroke from the batsman, resulting in a wicket.

Like the wide yorker, the slow bouncer has no margin for error. A bit here and there and it could mean embarrassment and leaked runs. But if done well it is an asset.

Natmeg shot

At the 2017 Women’s World Cup, England’s Natalie Sciver showed a novel way of tackling yorker length deliveries. She tapped them between her legs to the on side. The term ‘Natmeg’ comes from ‘Natalie’ and ‘Nutmeg’, the football expression for poking the ball between a defender’s legs.

In 2022, Sciver’s countryman Jonny Bairstow played the shot in a T20 game against South Africa.

The Natmeg is a rare bird. Keep your eyes peeled for it during the IPL.

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