Snake Shot Rashid Khan Wrist Shots Set Afghanistan’s Score on Fire against Australia
Rashid Khan stands as a unique embodiment of gully cricket’s spirit, joyfully bringing it to the grand stage of international cricket. In the realm of modern-day T20 batting, which often draws inspiration from the raw, unrefined shots played in gully cricket, Rashid Khan’s prowess is truly exceptional. He possesses the remarkable ability to astonish even the most daring street cricketer who has spent endless hours with a tennis ball.
During a riveting encounter with Australia at the Wankhede stadium, a couple of Rashid’s shots captured the imagination. In particular, his inventive and electrifying style stood out. One such shot materialized when offspinner Glenn Maxwell delivered the ball wide outside the off-stump. Rashid, ever the improviser, sprinted down the pitch and executed a square slash, his limbs and body extending like a seasoned yoga practitioner. However, the most remarkable moment was yet to come.
Anticipating that Maxwell might aim for a yorker-length ball, Rashid held his ground. As the delivery hurtled toward him, he displayed exceptional composure, merely using a subtle tap between his legs to guide the ball to the fine leg for a quick two runs. Remarkably, only his hands and bat were in motion, and this was no random occurrence or accidental inside-edge; it was a meticulously crafted stroke from one of the most ingenious minds in the world of cricket.
Almost nineteen months prior, he had shared a strikingly similar shot from the practice nets on his Instagram profile. The accompanying caption read, ‘Can you name this shot???’. The video also captured a delightful chuckle and the words ‘Sahi hai, Sahi hai,’ presumably coming from the individual recording the footage.
He prefers to engage in crowd-sourcing to christen his unique shots, and this choice is entirely justified, considering that his unconventional strokes are unlike anything seen in traditional cricket.
The snake shot, as he executes it, involves him selecting a full-length delivery from a fast bowler and expertly dispatching it up and over square-leg with remarkable ease, all while adding a touch of flair. The defining characteristic of this stroke is the swift, almost serpentine motion of his hand, which, after making contact with the ball, smoothly retraces its path back to the starting position. It’s the combination of a brief flick of the wrists, the seamless connection of the bat with the ball, and the ensuing rebound effect on the hands that earned it the name “snake shot.”
During the crucial final over of Afghanistan’s innings, Mitchell Starc attempted a slower short ball, but Rashid Khan remained ever vigilant. With patience and precision, he prepared to flat-bat the ball over long-off. However, the stroke on the fifth delivery was nothing short of spectacular. Despite the bouncer and Rashid’s crouched position, he managed to elevate his bat, unleashing a forceful shot akin to a tennis smash that sailed over square-leg for a six. This remarkable shot even brought a smile to Starc’s face. Rashid had previously showcased this skill in the Big Bash League and had aptly described it, saying, “I knew he was going to try to hit my helmet, and the tennis shot came out.”
Clever and astute, Rashid Khan’s mind is ever active as he employs his wristy swishes, constantly endeavoring to anticipate and decipher the bowler’s intentions.
Rashid Khan’s presence at the crease is characterized by minimal movement, a subtle crouch, and a reliance on his poised wrist to work its magic. While his fingers play a pivotal role in his bowling prowess, his batting sees the wrist taking the lead. It’s truly fascinating to observe how he employs the wrist’s snap to generate both power and execute unconventional, unpredictable strokes.
A full delivery outside the off-stump can be deftly sliced with minimal follow-through, guiding the ball to the point boundary. Rashid Khan’s unique ability allows him to abruptly halt his follow-through, swiftly retracing back to the starting point, much like his signature snake shot. In just 18 balls, Rashid managed to captivate the audience, bewilder the Australian team, accelerate the run rate, and relish his own extraordinary skills.
It’s a challenge to determine which aspect of Rashid’s game is more unconventional—his batting or his bowling. On one occasion, after a Big Bash game, the Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa expressed his desire to learn to bowl like Rashid. However, after a session with the Afghan star, Zampa concluded that he should stick to his own style and not attempt to mimic Rashid. Zampa clarified, “He’s not a wrist-spinner, he’s actually a finger-spinner. So, as a traditional wrist-spinner, you have a loose wrist and you use your wrist to spin the ball. He actually has a locked wrist and by doing that, he just changes the angle of that and then spins it with his fingers.” As Zampa further explained, Rashid maintains a consistent wrist position, facing the batsman throughout the delivery. Depending on the desired direction of spin, Rashid adeptly manipulates the ball with his fingers, maintaining a loose grip until the very end.
His fingers perform intricate maneuvers when bowling, while his wrists exhibit dynamic motion when batting. Rashid Khan remains a source of boundless energy, akin to a spirited young adventurer in international cricket—a true maverick of our era.