On January 26, 2013, Australia took on Sri Lanka in the first game of the T20 Series. The hosts, batting first, had been restricted to a score of 136, modest by T20 standards. During the visitors’ run-chase, with the scoreboard reading 10 for no loss, a sequence of events occurred, which caused a collective disbelief amongst everyone who was involved with and in the game – the players, the commentators, the teeming multitude of spectators and also the millions watching the game from the confines of their respective living rooms.
The strapping and nippy Mitchell Starc came bounding in and delivered a perfect length delivery pitching on or outside the off-stump. In a show of utter incredulity, the batsman who had in a pre-meditative vein moved slightly away from his off-stump, got down on one knee and thrusting the bat out in front of him, waited for the ball to make contact with the willow which was almost held perpendicular to the ground. Just at the very moment of impact, the ingenious batsman dropped his head down, before upending the ball over the wicket keeper and the slips with a click of the wrists. The ball continued in its trajectory before abruptly coming into contact with the sightscreen which terminated its flight. The scoreboard while registering the increase to the run tally also exhibited in a matter-of-fact manner that the ball which was dispatched over the boundary ropes in such an unorthodox vein was bowled at a speed of 144 kmph.
As the commentators provided a full-throated vent to their bewilderment, the bowler had every right to be possessed by a sense of rightful indignation. The batsman essaying this piquant stroke was none other than Tillakaratne Dilshan and the shot itself embellished by various names such as the ”Dilscoop”, “ramp” etc, has become it’s makers exclusive and exquisite preserve. While there may be a sense of incredulity attached to this particular stroke, there is also a great degree of inanity and idiocy attendant to attempting it. Upon getting the execution even slightly wrong, the consequences to the batsman might be calamitous. And more so if the bowler is of the likes of Mitchell Starc, and the ball coming out of the hand attains a speed of more than 140 kmph.
While not exactly inveighing either the pioneer or the play, here are a few practical reasons as to why the ‘Dilscoop’ might in addition to bestowing a sense of mass hysteria might also mendaciously arouse the curiosity and pose a challenge to many a doctors adept in their chosen domain of expertise. A ‘Dilscoop’ gone wrong provides various avenues of opportunities to variegated group of medical experts not only to expand their range of experience, but also to liberally extend the real estate perimeters of their practice. If such a practitioner of medicine were to be sitting in the stands watching the ‘Dilscoop’ in action, he might anticipate the following catastrophes:
In the event the offending delivery were to escape the any part of the willow and were to wedge its way into the gap between the grill and the upper half of the helmet, there is every possibility that it might make unwelcome contact with the bridge of the batsman’s nose. Now, the human nose is composed of bone, soft tissue, and cartilage. According to the mandarins of medicine, a force of only 30g is required to break the nasal bones. A ball delivered at high speed by a bowler is more than enough to fracture the nasal bones due to their facial position. Incidentally the same mandarins also are of the educated view that although not life-threatening by itself, a fractured nose may lead to difficulties in breathing as well as facial disfigurement – a situation least desirable, and not especially amenable to a voluntary invitation.
The world of medicine also informs us that any direct trauma to the bridge of the nose may also result in damage to a part of the base of the skull known as the cribriform plate. This injury in turn may allow cerebrospinal fluid to leak out of the skull and leave the body through the nose. If the bones can’t get you, the skull definitely will! A perusal of this sentence alone ought to be sufficient to scare the living daylights out of a batsman who aspires to emulate the immensely courageous and intensely stupid Dilshan in executing the ‘Dilscoop’. But if one still chooses to pay scant heed to this alarming medical possibility and go ahead with a focused intention to play the stroke, then it might not be too far from the truth to state that he might be in line to obtain a ‘numb skull’.
A falsely-executed or a failed attempt at a ‘Dilscoop’ might ensure that recurring appointments to the dentist’s clinic are in the offing. A ball finding its way through the same gap in the helmet as described above, can schedule an unscheduled meeting with a perplexed and unsuspecting mouth. The consequences of such an ad hoc meeting for the mouth might range from a complete knocking out of some teeth, to severe horizontal, vertical or diagonal tooth fracture! Instead of choosing whether to have a horizontal, vertical or diagonal dental disorder, a batsman would be well advised in the interest of prudence and judiciousness to abhor and abdicate the stroke itself!
Yet another undesirable consequence of a failed cheeky attempt at the ‘ramp’, can be a cheekbone fracture. Going by various esoteric names such as zygoma fractures, tripod fractures, quadripod fractures, trimalar fractures, and orbitozygomatic fractures, these cause serious pain to the sufferer in addition to putting him out of action for a considerable bout of time. A potential aspirant of the ‘Dilscoop’ first ought to equip himself substantially with a knowledge surrounding the various fractures and then arrive at a considered and judicious decision as to whether to abhor or advance his intentions towards this perilous stroke. The decision ought not to be so complicated anyway.
The ‘Dilscoop’ can also be a wrecker of vision. In addition to resulting in the loss of vision, this audacious stroke, if not played to perfection, can cause an orbital fracture. The most common fracture of the eye socket occurs when the patient is hit in the eye. The pressure on the eye causes the surrounding bone to break. The bone tends to break where it is weakest – usually, the floor of the eye socket. A batsman wishing to play the ‘Dilscoop’ in future would do well to make note of the fact that fractures of this kind are most commonly termed as “blow out” fractures, a fact requiring no further elaboration.
A fact not too very hard to comprehend is that either the upper or the lower jaw might be subject to severe trauma or fracture on account of coming into contact with a cricket ball travelling at high speed.
An extremely tempting ‘Dilscoop’ might have the tempestuous end results for a batsman. A crunching facial injury might result in an unwelcome disfigurement necessitating unavoidable interventions by a cosmetic surgeon. A procedure which can be completely avoidable one a batsman decides to relegate this uncanny shot to the confines of a fading and distant memory.
There are many engaging facets that this beautiful game affords to an aspiring and keen batsman. He can learn by watching Rahul Dravid ride the bounce; he can assimilate the utterly disdainful manner in which Ricky Ponting ravages the bounce and he can even rack his grey cells and mull over the ways in which Raina makes an uncomfortable reconciliation with the bounce!
But a youngster would do best to leave out the ‘Dilscoop’ to be executed by its pioneer and patented owner. This is an invention which can only be marketed without divesting from the product, its attendant perils, perils which are too very significant and seminal to be ignored or neglected. While this might seem to some as a prophylactic paranoia, both unwarranted and unwholesome, it is best to err on the side of caution rather than allowing a potential career to be obfuscated by indulging in one moment of spontaneous and untrammeled madness! A madness to which very little method can be attributed.
(Venkataraman Ganesan is a Chartered Accountant by intent and a lawyer by accident. He has a maniacal penchant for books, more books, still more books and lot more books, when he is not watching cricket that is! He loves his Scotch and scribbles for fun. He blogs at www.the-venkyloquist.com)
First Published: January 28, 2013, 8:18 am