Soumya Sarkar's 'periscope shot' acknowledged by ICC

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 'helicopter shot' and Tillakaratne Dilshan's 'Dilscoop' have been hailed as innovations in limited-overs cricket.

Published : 16 July 2015, 04:51 AM
Updated : 16 July 2015, 08:41 PM

These shots help batsmen score fast and upset the bowler's length and line. 

Now the International Cricket Council in its Facebook page has acknowledged Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar's 'periscope shot' as the latest innovation in the world of cricket.

Sarkar played text book shots all round the wicket in his match-winning 90 off 75 balls to take Bangladesh to a maiden ODI series win against South Africa on Wednesday.

He hooked and pulled Morkel and Abbott with flourish, lifted and flicked Rabada off his pads for three consecutive boundaries in an over and his delectable cover drives on the rise and late cuts off the fast bowlers reminded many of another Bengali legend -- India's stylish left-handed opener Sourav Ganguly.

But Sarkar appears a more all-round stroke player than Ganguly.

"In the off-side , there is God and there is Sourav Ganguly," his teammate Rahul Dravid had once said, but Ganguly was never really comfortable with the rising ball and his onside play never touched the levels of Sachin Tendulkar or Dravid.

Not so for Sarkar. Though he has a long way to go, the youngster displayed great promise with shots all round the wicket -- and behind it, when he played the 'periscope shot'. 

Sarkar just about leaned back without moving his feet to a rising Abbott bouncer and caressed the ball over the wicket-keeper into the noman's land behind the stumps for a boundary straight down the field.

That seems to have added a new shot to a batsman's repertoire.

The ICC Facebook page described it as the 'periscope shot', alluding to how a periscope emerges out of a submarine in mid-sea, almost from nowhere. 

Some may call it the 'upper cut' but a cut is usually used to describe a shot played by the batsmen to marginally change the direction of the ball from the line delivered by the bowler. 

Sarkar did play beautiful late cuts and square cuts and some square drives and cover drives as well, but this shot off the Abbott bouncer just lifted the ball over the wicket-keeper's head with an upward push.

The ball flew off the bat in a straight line behind the keeper bisecting the third man and the long leg for a straight field boundary.

"I feel happy to hear the ICC has given a name to the shot I played. I just played it and will play it again if I find the right ball for it," said Soumya Sarkar in a post-match press conference.

But chief selector and former Bangladesh captain Faruque Ahmed finds the 'periscope shot' simply unbelievable.

"It would be so difficult to play such a shot," said the former Biman Bangladesh Airlines man. 

He has a point -- a miss would mean a snick to the keeper for a caught behind and if the shot was mistimed, it might end up with the third man or the long leg for a catch.

But such was Sarkar's control over the South African bowling on Wednesday night that all the shots he played raced to the fence or went over it with a certain inevitability, as clean as a whistle.

The 22-year old from Satkhira was, however, unfazed by the praise heaped on him.

"I just played that shot," he said, but did not clarify whether this is something he had practised or whether it came to him by instinct.

Either way, Sarkar is not only the man of the series against South Africa -- he has stamped his country's name in the global cricketing glossary.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher