Back in the 18th Century, when cricket became the National Sport of England, nobody would have thought that Late Cut, one of the most scoring shots in cricket history will find itself buried in the 21st Century.
Late Cut is a shot that is played when batsman cuts the ball towards third man almost after the ball passes him. Batsman usually play this shot when third man is up in the circle or is too wide.
The late this shot is played, the more beautiful it looks. The picture of a batsman playing almost after the ball passes him is a delight to watch. Delicate shots are a rarity these days. But when played, it reminds us that Cricket is not restricted to power hitting and the now ‘reliable’ bludgeons down the ground (Courtesy: Modern Day Bats).
Late Cut is a perfect example of lazy elegance. Batsman trying to use the pace of the bowler and play it almost from the hands of the wicketkeeper to find gaps in the third man region.
I doubt that in modern times any coach would teach or motivate a young cricketer to play the Late Cut as it is one of the toughest shots to execute. But if one becomes a master of the same, he may add a productive shot in his repertoire.
Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan Legend was one of the best executioners of the Late Cut. He played the ball so late that even the wicketkeepers lived in danger. The Late Cut is almost synonym to MJ. If you google Late Cut Cricket images, almost half of the page will display MJ.
Sir Donald Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Steve Waugh, Inzamam Ul Haq, Mahela Jayawardene and many others have scored thousands of international runs with the Late Cut. But, modern day batsman have found alternate (maybe better) ways to score runs.
A cricket fan who followed Cricket before the T20 era are blessed with the image of Brian Lara facing Glen McGrath, opening the face of his bat and the ball just kissing his bat and race to the boundary.
It’s an irony that a shot which was so productive over the years is now ‘almost’ extinct.
Those who don’t know about the shot, here is a treat for your eyes.
Abhimanyu J Rajpurohit
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