Cricket is a game of innovation, and over the years, several players have come up with unique shots to score runs in different situations. One such shot that has gained popularity in recent times is the Helicopter Shot. And now, we will learn how to play the helicopter shot the right way.
A helicopter shot needs power and precision. Besides, players like MS Dhoni rely on the unimaginable (full) bat swing to generate even greater power. But yes, batsmen need to be picky with the delivery, as a wrong move can get them out in no time.
MS Dhoni, who is the greatest wicketkeeper of all time, is known for this shot, as he won many matches with this shot alone. Now, without any further ado, let’s analyze this shot.
What Is A Helicopter Shot?
A Helicopter Shot is a cricket shot where the batsman flicks the ball with a powerful wrist movement, sending it soaring over the long-on or long-off boundary.
The shot is named after the way the bat resembles the blades of a helicopter when it is swung around the body. It requires equal power of a pull shot or hook shot in cricket.
Who Invented The Helicopter Shot?
The Helicopter Shot is a modern cricketing innovation that was popularized by the former Indian skipper and one of the most successful cricket captains of all time, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
While Dhoni did not invent the shot, he was the first to bring it into the limelight and use it regularly in international matches.
The origins of the Helicopter Shot can be traced back to a few earlier instances of similar shots being played. One such example is the “Slog Sweep” shot, which involves hitting the ball hard with a horizontal bat swing.
Another example is the “Dilscoop” (played by Tillakaratne Dilshan) which involves scooping the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head by crouching and using the bat as a lever.
While it is not clear who exactly invented the Helicopter Shot, it is believed to have been developed by street cricketers in India and popularized by Dhoni in the early 2000s. Dhoni, who started playing cricket as a goalkeeper, was known for his quick reflexes and powerful hitting.
He honed his skills in his hometown of Ranchi, where he played a lot of tennis-ball cricket and developed his own version of the Helicopter Shot.
His childhood friend and fellow cricketer, Santosh Lal, is often attributed to teaching MS Dhoni this iconic shot.
Where Did The Name Come From?
The shot was named after the way the bat resembles the blades of a helicopter when it is swung around the body. The name was given by Ravi Shastri, who was commentating during the match where Dhoni first played the shot.
However, the helicopter shot has been there in the cricket scenario for ages. Initially, it was called the “Thappad shot” or the “Slap shot” in local terms. But after MS Dhoni made this shot famous on a global scale, it became famous as the helicopter shot.
Step-by-Step Guide On How To Play a Helicopter Shot
Playing a Helicopter Shot requires precise timing and powerful wrist movement. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to play the shot:
- Get into the right position: The batsman should get into a comfortable stance with his feet shoulder-width apart.
- Pick the right delivery: A Helicopter Shot is best played against a delivery that is pitched on the middle or off-stump.
- Get the timing right: As the ball comes towards the batsman, he should wait for the right moment to make contact with the ball.
- Use your wrist: The batsman should flick his wrist at the last moment, generating the power needed to send the ball over the boundary.
- Follow through: After playing the shot, the batsman should follow through with the swing of the bat.
You need to remember that only the best finishers in cricket try this shot against fast bowlers. So, if you are not a pro batsman, it is better not to try it against pacers.
When Can Helicopter Shots Be Played?
A Helicopter Shot can be played in different situations, depending on the game’s context. Here are a few instances where the shot can be useful:
- To clear the boundary: A Helicopter Shot is ideal when the batsman needs to clear the boundary for a six.
- To score quick runs: When the team needs quick runs, a Helicopter Shot can help the batsman score at a rapid pace.
- To counter spin bowling: A Helicopter Shot can be useful against spin bowling. It allows the batsman to get on top of the ball and hit it straight down the ground.
MS Dhoni executed some of the biggest sixers in cricket history with the help of this shot. But he always waited for the right time and the right delivery to play this shot.
Which Deliveries Are Ideal for Helicopter Shots?
A Helicopter Shot is best played against a delivery that is pitched on the middle or off-stump. The shot is most effective against fast bowling, but it can also be used against spin bowling.
Dhoni also played this shot against some of the greatest fast bowlers. And he also got success in that.
When Did Dhoni Attempt His First Helicopter Shot In International Matches?
Dhoni first attempted the Helicopter Shot in a match against Sri Lanka during the 2010 Asia Cup.
He played the shot off a delivery from Nuwan Kulasekara and sent the ball over the long-on boundary for a six.
5 Best Batsmen Known For Their Helicopter Shots
Here are five batsmen known for their Helicopter Shots:
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Dhoni is the inventor of the Helicopter Shot and is known for playing it to great effect.
- AB de Villiers: De Villiers is a South African batsman who is known for his innovative strokeplay. He is particularly good at playing the Helicopter Shot and has played some memorable ones during his career.
- Kieron Pollard: Pollard is a West Indian all-rounder who is known for his powerful hitting. He is one of the best exponents of the Helicopter Shot. He has used it to good effect in T20 leagues around the world.
- Hardik Pandya: Pandya is an Indian all-rounder who has made a name for himself as a hard-hitting batsman. He is also known for his ability to play the Helicopter Shot and has used it in ODIs.
- Glenn Maxwell: Maxwell is an Australian all-rounder who is known for his aggressive strokeplay. He is one of the best exponents of the Helicopter Shot and has played some memorable ones during his career.
Besides these five, there are many popular cricketers in modern cricket, such as Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, who also play this shot. They also have their own variants of this shot.
5 Common Mistakes While Playing Helicopter Shots and How to Overcome Them
Playing the shot too early: One common mistake that batsmen make while playing the Helicopter Shot is playing it too early. This can result in mistiming the shot and getting out. To overcome this, the batsman should wait for the ball to come to him before playing the shot.
Not getting the timing right: Getting the timing right is crucial while playing the Helicopter Shot. Batsmen often mistime the shot and end up hitting the ball straight to the fielder. To overcome this, the batsman should practice the shot in the nets and work on his timing.
Not using the wrist effectively: The wrist plays a crucial role in playing the Helicopter Shot. Batsmen often fail to use their wrist effectively, resulting in a lack of power in the shot. To overcome this, the batsman should work on his wrist strength and practice flicking the ball with his wrist.
Playing the shot too often: Batsmen who rely too much on the Helicopter Shot can become predictable, and the opposition can plan accordingly. To overcome this, the batsman should mix up his shots and not rely too much on one particular shot.
Not following through with the shot: Following through with the shot is essential to get the desired result while playing the Helicopter Shot. Batsmen often fail to follow through with the shot, resulting in a lack of power and direction. To overcome this, the batsman should focus on his follow-through and practice it in the nets.
The Helicopter Shot is an innovative and exciting cricket shot that has become popular in recent times. While it requires precise timing and powerful wrist movement, it can be a valuable weapon in a batsman’s arsenal, especially in limited-overs cricket.
By avoiding common mistakes and practicing the shot regularly, batsmen can master the Helicopter Shot and use it to great effect on the cricket field.