What is the flamingo shot in cricket?

The flamingo shot is a type of shot in cricket which was popularized by English batter Kevin Pietersen. The shot was customized to counter the off theory.

The off theory sees a packed slip cordon, gully and fielders positioned more towards the off side. The bowler’s line is also slightly outside the off stump. The goal of off theory is to make the batter drive through the off-side or misjudge an incoming delivery targeted at the off stump. It leaves the batter vulnerable to be caught behind by the wicket-keeper or the slip fielders, get bowled if they leave the ball or get beaten by the in-swing bowl that goes through the bat and pad.

The flamingo shot is hit by the batter by moving outside the line of the off-stump just when the bowler is about to release the bowl. The batter then angles the bat towards the leg side and drives the off-stump targeted ball to an area that is deficit of fielders.

The flamingo shot has all three: attacking, neutral and defensive variants. The attacking variant has a more obtuse follow through, with the shot intended to hit the boundary or beyond. The neutral variant is a simply drive where the elbow drops low and a simple flick of the wrist fetches some runs. When the line of the ball is relatively straight then a forward defense is hit while standing outside the off stump.

The pose struck by the batter and the movement of the bat after hitting the shot resembles a flamingo, thus giving the shot its unique name. It should be emphasised that this shot works best when the leg side field is open with less fielders. According to Pietersen, he used to play the shot when seven fielders were positioned on the off-side.

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