The helicopter shot rose to prominence majorly due to Indian wicketkeeper MS Dhoni. So, let us take a look at how this unorthodox shot is played and when can it be used.
Now, it’s time to enter the unorthodox territory with the highly popular helicopter shot.
The advent of T20 cricket stepped up innovation in the game by a few notches. Be it the ramp shot or the switch hit, these non-classic shots are a joy to watch when executed well. However, there is no doubt that none of them can hold a candle to the helicopter shot in terms of sheer excitement and the end-result of that stroke.
When pulled off, this stroke looks as adventurous as the name sounds. One can attribute the rarity of the stroke as a major reason why this shot is special.
While Sachin Tendulkar was one of the first batsmen to play the stroke, it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who popularised it. In fact, the helicopter shot is synonymous with Dhoni, who is arguably the best limited-overs finisher in the game and one of the most popular cricketers of this generation.
How is it played?
Now, the execution of the stroke requires a player to focus on three main aspects – timing, speed and strength. The player with the willow should have the ability to pick a yorker quicker than usual as the shot usually requires a high backlift.
The batsman moves his back-foot slightly towards the stumps and opens his front-foot in order to get ready for the bat-swing.
The bat needs to come down in time as the delivery is aimed at the stumps, more often than not. Hence, timing and speed are key to both pick the delivery and to get the bat ready.
The helicopter shot is an attacking shot, thus, the bat has to come down with enough force to dispatch the generally quick delivery towards the boundary rope and beyond.
After the ball is struck, the follow-through sees the bat move in a circular motion, giving rise to its name. While this follow-through is almost always seen in the case of Dhoni, it varies for other cricketers, depending on their style.
When is it used?
Normally, the helicopter shot is played in response to a fuller or yorker-length delivery from a fast or a slow bowler, especially in the death overs, when looking for big runs. The ball is hit towards the leg side with the intention of getting a boundary or a six.
The Indian wicketkeeper has one of the strongest bottom hands in the game and his ability to read bowlers allows him to pull off this shot in times of need.
Apart from him, this stroke has been used recently by the likes of Virat Kohli, Ben Cutting and Mohammad Shahzad.
Thus, the helicopter shot is one of the most difficult shots to play in the game. However, there is no doubt regarding the end result for the player as well as the audience when executed to perfection.
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