Helicopter shot came to being in international cricket with MS Dhoni. (Source: Reuters)
Every great cricketer has their signature style, which are innovative and highly off beat. From Dilshan’s ‘Dilscoop’ to Kevin Petersen’s ‘Switch hit’, these iconic shots are unconventional and yet reaching perfection. MS Dhoni, the former team India captain, created a sensation in his early years of cricket with a signature style, the ‘helicopter shot’. In this trademark action, Dhoni swings his bat above his head like the rotating blades of a helicopter. This stroke is a combination of brute force in action, excellent wrist work and intensive speed of execution.
MS Dhoni’s Helicopter Shot was a cricket sensation in his early career (Source: Getty Images)
MS Dhoni’s helicopter shot was central to his rise as a prominent striker in the team. He filled in the gap in India’s batting lineup as a player would could counteract Yorker deliveries in death overs. This further made him the strongest finisher in the team. He used this technique to pull up boundaries against the toughest bowling action and get out the run rate off complicated situations. After each shot the roar of the crowd shook the stadium. Also, his looks with long hair and a smiling face became an intensive sensation among cricket fans in only India, but throughout the world.
Santosh Lal, Dhoni’s childhood friend, taught him the shot
In the Bollywood biopic on the player, “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”, that the screen in 2016, there was a revelation about the Helicopter Shot. In the movie, it was shown that Dhoni learnt this masterstroke from his childhood friend named Santosh Lal. The latter was also a state player along with Dhoni. They were childhood buddies playing together since their ‘Gully Cricket’ days, until MS Dhoni was included in the national team. In their childhood days, they called the style ‘Thappad Shot’. Dhoni used to learn the stroke from Santosh in exchange of samosas. As the movie is based on true events and approved by the cricketer himself, it is reasonable to believe that the Helicopter Shot was actually from Santosh Lal.
Santosh Lal, a domestic level cricketer, passed away in 2013 at the age of 32
Sadly, Santosh Lal passed away at the age of 32 in the year 2013, suffering from pancreatitis. Dhoni being the best friend of the player even arranged an air ambulance when Lal was fighting the final emergency of his life. He was flown from Ranchi on the way to Delhi, but to a great misfortune, bad weather forced the flight land in Varanasi before reaching the destination. Santosh passed away on the way. The cricketer made the arrangement while being on a tour with team India.
Helicopter shot is tricky and difficult. Dhoni even cautioned young players to avoid playing the stroke
Cricket experts has divulged the science behind the effectiveness of MS Dhoni’s helicopter shot. This is executed in stages through a careful and calculated movement of the body. This shot is also about a balance in posture. First stage is to achieve a high back lift. This is done before seconds a bowler releases the ball. This lift adjusts the bat to the point of maximum impact with the ball. The idea is to hit the ball with a full face, even if it strikes with an angle. While doing this, balancing the body weight equally on both the legs is important, else, one might tip off.
The second stage begins with the swinging of the bat. By this moment the ball reaches the crease. This part has more to do with the wrist action. The rotating whip is the quintessential part of the shot because it provides both the momentum and trajectory to the ball.
Any innovation keeps on evolving and as times passed, several cricketers tried out MS Dhoni’s Helicopter shot. In current times, the batsman is not seen playing the iconic shot, but he is one who could do it with perfection in international cricket. In 2017, the former captain even cautioned young learners not to play this style because it is difficult and require lot of work. He said, it could lead to injury. MS Dhoni has retired from Test cricket and he will play the ODI World Cup 2019 as a senior player. He is still the strongest finisher in T20 International, keeping up with his fitness levels even in the age of 37.
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