How popular are ramps in T20?

Or scoops, or Dilscoops.

When Tillakaratne Dilshan played this shot back in 2009, it changed how we thought about the game. The final part of the ground had been unlocked.

Players would now hit boundaries to all parts of the wagon wheel from any delivery.

It had been slow going at first. The only shots that went to the leg originally were usually accidental. It was seen as not proper cricket to hit to the onside. That changed really at first with Ranji, who was being trained to stop backing away and somehow managed to invent the leg glance. Victor Trumper made the leg side more popular by being the first guy to drag balls across the line like Viv, KP or Smith.

But that still left the area straight behind the keeper unused. It was there for byes or the occasional uppercut from a straight ball. Learie Constantine once claimed to hit a full toss there. But again, it required a bad ball. How do you get a good ball there?

Two players entered at this point to try to change that. Douglas Marrilier was a middling Zimbabwe lower middle player who saw that teams had started bringing their fine leg up and created the scoop of sorts. While Ryan Campbell went with another creation altogether. But neither really took off.

And Dilshan's invention didn't either. For all the hype, only a couple of other Sri Lankans ever played it semi-regularly, and even then, only rarely.

But despite their original shots being turned into slightly different creations, they were the three that took regular deliveries and all three of those players showed us that you could score behind the keeper.

The interesting thing is that all these years later, no one does it that often. The only player I remember playing this shot as one of their major options was Dutch player Tobias Visee. At times, he almost turned the V around and just played behind himself. When you watch him do it, you actually realise how rare it is for other players. We have never seen anyone do something like this really. The truth is, even the players you think scoop a lot, don't.

As I don't have a searchable database of shot types, I had to go through the players who scored the most runs from the shot, and even that was hard to find. Because people don't score from it much. You can see that in modern times, it's still played less than once every 200 balls.

However, it might be more than that. Like a few others in cricket, this shot is not always referred to as the ramp or scoop. Some get called sweeps, reverse sweeps, and paddles. It can depend on the person looking at it. But even so, there is no doubt that there are not that many. But they do pay. It's a high-yielding shot.

If you factor in average as well, you can see that the ramp is still one of the faster scoring shots, but it actually has a pretty good average as well. You can see a lot more standard shots with worse averages. The off-drive is incredibly low, as is the cut, and the cover drive also averages less too. This suggests that it isn't played enough. It should be dismissing people more than it is.

You are talking about a shot where you have to premeditate the delivery. Then you get into a weird position, and often players are still moving. So many things can go wrong. A slower ball takes the pace off and it won't fly over short third and fine legs up in the circle. You also can get in a tangle with a short ball. Not to mention if the ball ends up anywhere you don't expect. Then when you fix all that, you still have the fact you are playing without a straight blade. So to average more than 20 while striking at nearly two runs a ball is pretty incredible.

Each year we see more of these shots. However, you can see there is a bit of a plateau. I expected to see this. Because I think from 2021 onwards we've probably had a bump in the amount of slower balls delivered. I don't have numbers on this, but it's something I see in my notes a lot. And that is a tough ball to ramp, because of the lack of pace. Of course, it could just be that players don't like it as much now.

There is something else it could be. So spinners know now going into each spell who sweeps, or reverses and doesn't. Players are either sweepers or not; that is the same for rampers. Some players use them on very bad days, but mostly you either do it, or you don't. And these are the guys who do.

This is the number of runs each player was credited with this shot. But remember, they also sweep and reverse sweep fast bowlers at times. Some scoops are written down as reverse pulls. But this is the list of players who are at least marked with doing it the most. And from watching all of them, this makes sense.

Let's start with Buttler as he made it a far more widespread shot when he exploded on the international scene. Well, he only scores from it 1.2% of the time. That's not a lot. He plays it about as often as he does a leg glance. But that number is enough for us to think of him as a ramper, but not a leg glancer.

If you look at QDK you will find that he's also ramping at 1.2% of the time. But you can also see from this that his shot diet is not as varied as Buttler's. He doesn't have as many weapons, but he doesn't seem to rely on scooping.

However, you can see there is a step up on this when we get to SKY. Him at 2% may not seem massive, but it's a lot more than the other two.

But Josh Philippe has an even more significant jump than SKY. If you've seen him play, you'll know this makes a lot of sense. But it's still not our biggest.

Because Danushka Gunathilaka was going it nearly 6% of the time. Now his is from the lowest overall balls. But he's still top five in terms of scoring from it.

Of course, we don't talk about him after what happened when he toured Australia. But when he was allowed to play cricket, this was his shot.

And when you look at all the top scoopers together, you can see just how much this guy plays it compared to everyone else. It is such a peculiar shot because we talk about it so often, but it's played so rarely.

When I went back through the footage, even of innings I was sure Dilshan played this shot heaps, mostly he didn't do it as much as I remembered. But what this shot has really done is changed how we look at cricket., So you might play it less than a leg glance, but each one has 1000 times the impact just because of how it changed our game.