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What is the greatest single cricket shot ever played? Wisden readers have their say

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Recently, we asked our readers to name the greatest single cricket shot that has ever been played, and the answers were many and varied.

Accompanying the post was a picture of Ian Bell holding the pose after a signature cover drive, and there were a few shouts for some of the Duke’s most alluring strokes. One flourish in particular, from the 2010/11 Ashes tour to Australia, and adorned by the dulcet tones of Richie Benaud, proved especially popular.

There were a couple of nominations for a balletic lofted straight drive from Ricky Ponting, sending Ryan Sidebottom miles back over his head in a 2009 ODI.

For the more modern-minded readers, T20 cricket threw up some unconventional candidates. Chris Lynn’s famous Gabba roof-clearing swing in the 2016/17 BBL came complete with a what-did-I-even-just-do smile, while, even in potato quality, AB de Villiers reverse-swatting a full toss through third man for six is pretty special. Meanwhile Virat Kohli’s short-arm lofted pull-drive over the leg side married the two worlds nicely.

In some cases, context was king. One almighty mow from Shahid Afridi off Ravichandran Ashwin might have had more height than distance, but given that it still went for six to seal a vital Asia Cup one-wicket win, we’ll allow it.

When it comes to context, you can hardly get more weighty than the finale of last year’s Headingley Ashes Test, when Ben Stokes played one of the greatest innings of all time to seal a one-wicket win, and there were three nominations from the decisive last-wicket partnership.

Stokes’ reverse-slog-sweep off Nathan Lyon and imperious back-foot smash down the ground off Pat Cummins – the all-rounder’s personal favourite shot from the knock – both received mentions, as did, of course, Jack Leach’s score-levelling nurdle. Ashley Giles’ mid-wicket-directed couple that gave England the lead in the 2005 Ashes was another picked on the same theme.

There was even one candidate from all the way back in 1899, when Albert Trott became the first, and still the only player to clear the Lord’s pavilion. There’s no footage to show for it, but it sounds like quite something.


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