Kumar Sangakkara, Virat Kohli, Babar Azam. Apart from being modern greats of cricket, they have one more thing in common. The PERFECT COVER DRIVE! Have you ever wondered how to play a cover drive elegantly? Have you ever wondered how cricket greats play it with much ease?
We at Cricketry.com are fascinated by the beauty of the game, especialy when it arrives in the form of graceful shots. Let us talk through some helpful tips, so you can get a lead on mastering this lovely cricket stroke.
What is it?
Considered as one of the most graceful shots in cricket, cover drive is played with a vertical bat to pierce the ball through the cover region. The batsman needs to take a forward stride to the line of the ball and bring down the bat to meet the delivery. Owing to the precise technique and exquisite timing, this shot is a difficult one to master too.
Lift your bat up to a comfortable height (backlift) and make sure that the line and length is suitable to play the shot. The line should be slightly outside the offstump. If the line is too far away, you will be stretched too much and may end up ballooning the ball in the air. Too close to the body, you might end up an LBW victim or produce an ugly inside-edge, or worse – end up falling over and get castled! The ideal length would be a half-volley (full-pitched). Playing this shot against a good length delivery (link) requires a lot of practice and confidence (but, boy doesn’t it look magnificent!).
Balance is the KEY
The key to ANY cricket shot is balance. You need to keep some points in mind when playing the cover drive, so you are balanced well. Your front foot should move into the line of the ball but should end up slightly behind and inside of it. Your front shoulder needs to move in sync with the front foot, while the shoulder is slightly pointing towards the cover region. This also allows you to transfer your weight smoothly into the shot.
Your feet should NOT be over-stretched or under-stretched. Overstretching will cause you to lose the balance and will make it difficult to time the shot, while under-stretching will not give you the required power. It is difficult to say exactly how much you should stretch, as it comes with the practice.
Play it LATE
You must keep your eye on the ball (as with anything else in Cricket), so your head should be slightly bent down. When making the impact with the ball, your eyes should be on top of the ball. Your eyes should also be in line with the toes. This means that you need to play the ball close to your body, or you would end up looping a simple catch down the throat of a gleeful cover fielder!
The Grip is Crucial
Your arms play a major role here. The top hand should firmly grip the bat handle while the bottom hand should be loose. This allows you to guide the trajectory of the ball in the desired direction and helps you to keep it along the floor.
A lot of things to do in a fraction of a second, isn’t it? Perhaps one of the reasons why Sanga, Kohli, and Azam are considered legends!
Have a look to this video for a visual representation of how to play the cover drive.
If you have any tips for the readers, please do share those here.
Image Credits: Twitter, The Cricket Lounge, Dailyhunt, spelthornemelrosecc, Wikipedia