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How Dilshan's 'Dilscoop' came into existence

March 09, 2016 22:40 IST

Tillakaratne Dilshan discusses the origin of his famous shot, the 'Dilscoop'.
Harish Kotian/Rediff.com listens in.

Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan plays the 'Dilscoop' shot off the bowling of England's James Anderson during an ODI match at Lord's Cricket Ground in London

IMAGE: Tillakaratne Dilshan plays the 'Dilscoop' shot off James Anderson at Lord's. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Today's batsmen are playing some freak shots that no one would have imagined even half a decade ago.

Paddle scoops and reverse paddles against fast bowlers have become common, with so many batsmen playing them nowadays.

But there is one shot, a creation of the T20 era, which remains exclusive to one batsman.

The 'Dilscoop', rightly named after its creator, Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan, who invented it in 2009.

No one else has been able to get a hang of the shot, which involves going low and scooping the ball straight back over the wicket-keeper's head for a four.

Ahead of the World T20, which could be Dilshan's final appearance in the event, he gave the media an idea about the origin of the Dilscoop, which, incidentally, was first played in the Indian Premier League.

"It was in the second edition of the IPL in 2009, which was played in South Africa. In one of the matches, I saw everyone playing the paddle sweep. I remember I played a shot off Mitchell Marsh which went over the wicket-keeper. That time the shot had no name and the ball went over Adam Gilchrist's head behind the stumps... who got upset and threw his gloves."

"Following that shot, he stood back and I batted more freely after that. I was able to go down the track to the bowler and attack him."

"I discussed the shot with my coach Chandika Haturusingha, who is now Bangladesh's coach, and after I returned to Sri Lanka I practiced the shot with a tennis ball."

"Just before the 2009 World T20 I practiced the shot for more than one month with a tennis ball. I played it in the first match against Australia, against Shane Watson, and it went for a six. I have just continued playing it with great effect and that is how the Dilscoop came into existence."

Tillakaratne Dilshan attempts the 'Dilscoop'

IMAGE: Dilshan attempts the 'Dilscoop'. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

"I had success in the 2009 World T20 and was named man of the tournament. From 2009, I have been regularly playing the Dilscoop."

The right-hander said it was his quest to finding a shot completely different from what the others were playing at the time which resulted him in coming up with the Dilscoop.

"I didn't want to play my paddle scoop normally. I wanted to play it a bit more fine, maybe behind the wicket-keeper. With everybody playing the paddle sweep, the teams were starting to place a fielder there so I wanted to hit it fine, behind the wicket-keeper."

"I decided to hit over the wicket-keeper because I knew they would not place a fielder there and I would get to score some runs. No one had attempted that shot before so I thought why not practice it and perfect it?"

Playing the Dilscoop, Dilshan said, depends on the length of the delivery and it did not matter if he is facing a fast bowler or spinner. "The Dilscoop gives me more options. If the bowler bowls full I go for the paddle; if it is a little bit short, I play my scoop and that is why I have been successful so far."

"When the bowler is halfway in his run-up, I decide to go for the shot."

It isn't surprising that some batsmen have asked him for tips about the shot.

"A lot of youngsters spoke to me about it. I don't think it harms the game."

While it might be risky attempting the shot against fast bowlers, the Sri Lanka opener revealed that he has never been scared to play it.

"I am not scared. I played the Dilscoop against (Mitchell) Starc who bowled 149kmph and it went for a six."

His son, he added, has mastered the shot. "My kids are already playing it. My son is playing the shot better than me."

The 39 year old said he may continue playing T20s for Sri Lanka for a couple of years.

"I don't think too much and I haven't changed too much. I just concentrate on my game plan. I just stick to the basics and whatever I have been doing for the last 15, 16 years in international cricket."

"I try to share my experience with youngsters. That is important because a lot of youngsters have come into the national side. I look to pass on my experience, whatever I have learnt throughout my career."

"In one or two years I will also go to give the youngsters a chance and that is a part of cricket where seniors retire and make way for the younger players."

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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