Head towards the ball, extend your arms with a balanced base & BANG!
Cricket purists and Pundits have been reciting this recipe of a perfect sweep shot for ages now. The sweep shot has been an important weapon in the arsenal for batters traveling to sub-continent or against quality spin. No spinner likes the batsman for his audacity to sweep him from outside off to wherever he wants.
With the advent of T20 cricket (followed by T10 & the hundred now), the sweep shots have evolved in leaps & bounds. Batsmen no longer refrain from playing the slog sweep, paddle sweep, reverse sweep, and other variants even in test cricket.
But who plays it the best? Which batsman is what Kohli is to the cover drive (the maestro). We at CricIndeed have compiled a list of top 10 batsmen who play the sweep shot the Best!
Andy Flower was the backbone of the Zimbabwean cricket team in the 90s & 2000s. Despite wicket keeping chores, Andy Flower would carry the responsibility of anchoring the innings for years.
He is essentially the original master of the reverse sweep. No Indian cricket fan can ever forget what he did in the 1999 World Cup or his mammoth 232 run innings in Nagpur. He could reverse sweep at will and discovered new areas for scoring between third man & point.
AB de Villiers
There are men, there are superheroes, and then there is the Superman ABD! You don’t get heaps of praises from Rahul Dravid if you’re any Tom, Dick & Harry!
The man has revolutionized how the game is played. He can paddle, sweep, scoop, reverse, and slog-sweep any bowler (from Yuvraj Singh to Mitchell Starc) with utmost disdain in any corner (Mr. 360-degree for a reason). In addition to the sweep, ABD has a plethora of shots in his repertoire; maybe he should now bat left-handed to bring sanity back.
Mushfiqur Rahim has always been a thorn in the flesh for the spinners with his cheeky footwork. He has eternally displayed an exquisite range of shots, both off front & back foot. Since his rise to stardom sweeping Indian spinners in the 2007 debacle, he has invariably displayed his affection for orthodox sweep & slog-sweep specifically. Though playing the sweep has been his nemesis against the spinners, but playing his favorite shot is a gamble he will always take.
Sachin Tendulkar needs no description to any cricket fan (or a no-fan). The man has seen it all, done it all. SRT has invariably played every shot in the textbook for multiple decades with the highest precision, though no one has played the paddle sweep as neat as him.
He has a rich vein of all the sweeps; for more on his sweeping abilities, contact Shane Warne (remember his nightmares about Tendulkar taking him to the cleaners).
Younis Khan- the master of conventional sweeps, took exceptional pride in his sweeping abilities. He scored his 10000 th run, his only triple century with a sweep, moreover his last dismissal was also a sweep.
Always a sturdy bottom handed player, Younis never shied away from the sweep. Famously AB De Villiers identified Younis as his idol for learning the sweep shot, which is a big feather in the latter’s cap.
One of the hardest hitters off the spinners in this age, Glenn Maxwell, inevitably puts his hat in the ring. He can demoralize any bowling attack with the range he has, from reverse sweeping at third man to slog sweeping to the cow corner.
Fans come to watch Maxwell play. Such is the aura of the man that he makes more headlines when he is left out of the team rather than making the cut.
The 36-year-old veteran started as a prodigy back in 2007 and is still going strong in 2020. Ross Taylor has always been a firm believer in using the sweep shot to unsettle the opposition spinners and cash when they switch their lengths.
Ross Taylor has one of the best slog sweeps in the game, though there have been stretches when Taylor abstains from using the shot (for reasons best known to him).
Sarfaraz Ahmed was till more recently captaining the Pakistan National Team in the Cricket World Cup. He has accumulated 2657 runs @ 36.39 in Tests & 2302 runs @ 33.85 in ODIs with a substantial chunk coming with the sweep shot.
Sarfaraz has one of the best wrists in the game and is a busy player who likes to get it rolling from ball one.
Ben Stokes is the gun player in this generation. His career has been a roller coaster, albeit the four sixes by Carlos Brathwaite or the WC 2019 drama or the Arm-gate controversy. However, his performance has always been top-notch. Stokes can be consistently be seen using the slog sweep to good effect to up the ante. The sweep shot is an integral part of his attacking play; he uses to break the shackles and dominate the spinners.
K L Rahul
One of the shimmering stars in the Indian Cricket, Rahul boasts of a technique to die for. He has all the text-book shots in the kitty along with his flair. Though an opener by virtue, Rahul has flared well in the chances he has got in the middle order. One main reason for his transformation is how well he plays the sweep. He can play all the versions, though the conventional sweep is his piece of cake.
The sweep shot has been the go-to shot for batsmen visiting the subcontinent for eternities. The best players are those who know when and where to play it; the primary contest is always performed in the minds. Also, these players’ cheeky intent (to go with powerful techniques) makes them the real exponent of the sweep. With the game evolving at the accelerated pace, we can’t wait to see new versions of the sweep shot!
Structural Engineer who just bleeds cricket!