Experiencing a beautiful cover drive along the ground is more satisfying than watching a top edge going over the ropes. In this generation, the beauty of the game is visualized in the longest and toughest format of the game where the bowlers try to take 20 wickets to win the match, the batsman looks to score the runs safely. The real skill of a player is tested in the longest format of the game.
However, very few players can absorb the pressure and deal with the situation. Those who look to establish their careers by slogging every delivery out of the ground, find themselves at the receiving end (of course, there are few exceptions). Therefore, the players need to respect the opposition’s skills and play along the ground as much as they can. In the present era, few players have mastered this art of playing along the ground.
Amongst them, five batsmen have been able to play the straight drive to perfection. Do you remember Sachin’s counter-attack on a fiery Lee? Even though none of the batsmen come close to the God of Cricket, they seem to have mastered the toughest shot in the book.
Have a look at the 5 best batsmen of the straight drive among active cricketers:
5. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Kane Williamson belongs to a group of players who have shown that one can exceed in T20 cricket by playing orthodox shots. Williamson has been a part of the “Fab-4” for a long time and is widely regarded as one of the best in this era. Currently, he has been the flagbearer of a strong New Zealand team that is dominating Test cricket. If he continues to perform at this rate, he might surpass Martin Crowe as the greatest batsman New Zealand has ever produced.
Orthodox batting is never seen as attractive in T20 cricket. But Williamson’s 1723 runs in 62 T20Is showcase that he has been an excellent batsman in the shortest format. As we speak of orthodox shots, Kane’s ability to hit the ball along the ground makes him the anchor of the inning. He has scored consistently down the ground and is one of the finest players who can play straight drive to perfection.
When required, Williamson can loft the ball across the square boundaries. But, when the team looks to save wickets, he can drive the ball along the ground. It is, without any doubt, one of the most beautiful sights in world cricket at the moment. His ball-striking abilities are similar to the Indian great Rahul Dravid, who scored the majority of the runs along the ground.
Because of his abilities to score straight down the ground, Williamson makes it to this list of the 5 best batsmen of the straight drive among active cricketers.
4. Ajinkya Rahane (India)
Indian cricket team witnessed a massive shift in lifestyle when IPL became an instant hit back in 2008. Since then, we have seen many players changing their attire and attitude. However, amongst this hustle, there is one player who is more of a studious guy, Ajinkya Rahane. The current stand-in captain has been one of the most vital members of the Indian Test side. While he looks to find his way into the limited-overs side, an already strong Indian ODI squad makes it difficult for a classy Rahane.
Rahane has thrived in difficult conditions. Be it Lord’s or Melbourne, Rahane’s efforts have helped his team to achieve historic feats. While Kohli’s outstanding batting records take the spotlight, Rahane’s calm and supporting role usually doesn’t make it to the headlines. Rahane’s temperament came to the spotlight after the way he led the Indian team in Melbourne and Sydney.
Talking about his batting, he can strike the ball along the ground and score invaluable runs for his team. Now, as he plays at a crucial number five position in Test cricket, he holds the gateway for the opposition bowlers to bowl the tail out. But, his ability to hit the ball straight and play the straight drive to perfection has enabled him to become one of the finest test match-winners in this generation.
3. Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Babar Azam is currently one of the finest players in world cricket. His ability to perform well during adverse situations has helped Pakistan to find a perfect number three batsman in their line-up. Azam stayed at the top of the ICC T20I batsman ranking list for some time and the credits for this achievement goes to his ability to strike the ball along the ground and score valuable runs. Therefore, he belongs to the group of players who have thrived in the shortest format of the game by playing orthodox shots.
Before his arrival, Pakistan were pulling out every trick in the book of permutations and combinations for a perfect player who can anchor the innings. After Babar made it to the grandest stage, his ball-striking ability improved drastically. He is one of the finest straight-drivers in world cricket and he continues to collect vital runs for his team in adverse situations. The Pakistani superstar idolizes the iconic AB de Villiers, who himself was one of the most productive batsmen in the modern era.
While Pakistan continues to host matches on their home soil, Babar’s orthodox efforts have helped them to draw supporters for the national team. He can play the cover drive too, which is considered as perfect as Virat Kohli’s. Babar’s ability to hit the ball straight down the ground has enabled him to be considered as a new member of the “Fab-4”, which includes the likes of Steve Smith, Kohli, and Williamson.
2. Quinton de Kock (South Africa)
The current all-format captain of South Africa had made headlines after he scored consecutive hundreds during a home series against India. Quinton de Kock has been a hot-favorite for various IPL franchises because of his clean hitting abilities. The southpaw can clear any ground with ease and is considered as one of the finest openers in world cricket at the moment. While South African cricket goes into transition, de Kock is one of the players who can play the role of an anchor when the inexperienced players fail to score.
De Kock is also known to play the ball along the ground. His ability to play beautiful cricketing shots down the ground can leave anyone in awe. The left-handed batsman relies on timing and this has enabled him to succeed in the shorter formats of the game. In the limited-overs format, he can give terrific starts to his team even by playing safe shots.
De Kock has been successful for South Africa for some time now. In 2016, he became the fifth South African to score five fifty-plus scores in a row. In tough batting conditions in Australia, his aggressive style of play shifted the game towards the South Africans. It is very rare to find batsmen who have thrived in all three formats of the game, and amongst the classic orthodox shots, it is his straight drive that is a treat to watch.
1. Virat Kohli (India)
Well, this list would have been incomplete without Virat Kohli. Arguably, the greatest modern era batsman after Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli has made sure that he is the poster boy of cricket. The Indian captain has dominated world cricket for over a decade and looks to overtake Tendulkar as the leading run-scorer in the future. Talking about his fitness, he has set a benchmark for others to follow.
As Indian cricket continues to make history overseas, Virat Kohli’s presence has been the main catalyst for the team’s success. With an average of over fifty in every format of the game, Kohli has dominated every team in his career. But, talking about his approach, he likes to play the orthodox shots present in the book. Even after playing proper cricketing shots and rarely using the scoops, reverse hits, and uppercuts, he has been the best cricketer in the past decade.
Kohli’s ball-striking ability has been spectacular. The drive, when played, makes it to the boundary every time, irrespective of the dimension of the field. Amongst the drives, his straight drive is a treat to the eyes. When he leans forward to push the ball straight along the ground, it leaves the commentators in his awe! Without any doubt, Virat Kohli has the best straight drive in world cricket at the moment.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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