5 cricket shots that make us love the game!
All of us watch cricket for a reason. For some that reason is the sound of a cork and leather ball hitting the three stumps while for others it’s the sound of a piece of willow taking out all its anger on that very ball.
As for me, I’ve compiled a list of five of my favourite cricketing shots. This list is in no order of importance and I’ve only included Pakistani batsmen whom I’ve seen playing live in the five years that I’ve been passionately following the sport.
Some of you may not agree with any of these and may criticise me for not including others instead of the ones I have but I’m quite sure that most of you will accept how these shots make us love the game.
Younis Khan’s cover drive
This one was a very difficult choice. Many of you will argue that the sweep shot is his best or maybe his straight drive but I personally wait for his cover drive when he’s on the pitch. It is, quite literally, a work of perfection.
Rarely do we see someone caressing the ball as effortlessly as Younis Khan. A glorious backlift and then a majestic arc follow through sends the ball to the boundary without fail. The gap between the bat and pad is almost too perfect and the look of determination in Younis Khan’s eyes as he follows the arc, haunts me every time.
Kamran Akmal’s back foot cut
When Kamran Akmal initially came to the international cricket arena, he was seen as a sound wicketkeeper but this first impression became a shadow of the ability he showed in some of his later matches. Akmal’s batting has always been an asset and when he gets going, the Lahori easily neutralises the best bowling attacks.
His back foot cut is a work of art. I love the sheer power involved and since Akmal is not very tall, that shot becomes all the more special when played by him. It is a wonder to watch him ride on his back foot and almost slap the ball well over the point fielder’s head for a magnificent boundary.
Shahid Afridi’s ‘anywhere for six’
In the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa, all the batsmen who came to bat had a short video of them in which they introduced themselves and then mentioned their favourite shot. When the ‘man of the tournament’ came out to bat, he never mentioned the sweep shot, the on-drive, the cover drive, the straight drive, the pull, the hook or the cut shot; instead, the much loved Pathan said,
And it is indeed, Shahid Khan Afridi’s ‘anywhere for six’ that remains one of my favourite cricketing shots. Even Afridi haters (I know, it’s sad that such a great player has haters but what can one do) cannot stop admiring his massive heaves.
Many of us ‘Afridiots’ would say that Afridi’s six of South African pacer Ryan McLaren was his best hit ever but in reality, we can never make up our minds. 350 sixes and counting, there is just no stopping this man!
Umar Gul’s wallop to the leg side
This is a rather amusing shot by the lethal bowler. Gul effortlessly launches the ball from his knees and sends it soaring to the leg side boundary. Bowlers are dumfounded, spectators are astounded and the only calm person during such moments is Umar Gul himself, looking cool as a cucumber as if all’s going according to plan (which it probably is).
Heavy wristwork is definitely involved in this shot and the Pathan makes excellent use of his hands giving his fans many important wickets.
The first time I saw Umar Gul lifting one was when Pakistan played against Sri Lanka in a Test match after the T20 World Cup in 2009 at Galle, Sri Lanka. But the moment almost all of us remember him playing the shot was when the Pakistani team found themselves in a bit of rut as they chased a modest total by South Africa in 2012 at the T20 World Cup in Colombo.
It was Gul’s 32 runs that allowed Pakistan to win that crucial match.
Misbahul Haq’s forward defensive
This is easily one of the best shots I’ve ever seen from a Pakistani batsman and I’m sure most of you will agree with me. That simple forward lunge to the spinner or that back foot defensive has won us a lot more matches than it has lost. As much as we want to pull our hair out when a tense situation arises, Misbah is always there to put us at ease.
In all our cricketing years, we’ve seen some brilliant strokes and awesome sixes but Misbah’s forward defensive will forever live in our hearts.
I know you probably don’t agree with the ones I have put down, but these were some of my favourite cricket shots. What are yours?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.