You couldn’t hand it to Dilshan could you Scyld Berry?

As Nasser Hussein pointed out during the Sri Lanka v New Zealand ICC World Twenty20 match, Dilshan’s scoop shot over the keeper’s head – The Dilscoop – is unlike any other stroke attempted before.

Dilshan on one knee, with his head right in the firing line, scoops the ball over his left shoulder and at times his head. He plays the stroke to full length deliveries as well as good length deliveries which if he misses will hit the stumps.

According to Scyld Berry, the Editor of Wisden, Dilshan should not be credited with the stroke’s invention.

This is what he had to say in his annual overview of world cricket:

During the World Twenty20 in England, Sri Lanka’s Tillekeratne Dilshan popularised the stroke whereby he went down on his back knee and helped the ball over his left shoulder or straight over his head. Some called it the "Dilscoop", but it would be wrong to credit him with the stroke’s invention. In 1933, when batting for the West Indians at Lord’s, Learie Constantine scooped over his head for six a full toss from MCC’s pace bowler Maurice Allom, and there are earlier references too. Australia’s wicketkeeper either side of the First World War, Hanson Carter, who in his day-job was an undertaker, might have got the idea for his shovel shot from grave-digging. After the introduction of the helmet, the stroke became less fraught with physical danger and was occasionally used.

Let Dilshan be truly honoured for his bravery during the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, when a cricket team was directly targeted for the first time, and the sport became no longer an escape from daily life but part of it. Dilshan’s heroic role in piloting the team bus to safety is described in the article following these Notes.

Berry wasn’t around to witness any of it? He was born in 1954. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but I doubt he even has a photograph to compare Dilshan’s innovative stroke with Constantine or Carter. What he may have is a Wisden match report describing a similar stroke. The subtle difference between a pull and a hook shot should remind Berry that similar doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same.

You couldn’t hand it to Dilshan could you Scyld Berry?

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