How to play the cover drive

Anyone watching watching and loving the game will agree there is nothing more majestic than well executed cover drive. Shot performed with balance, grace and effort less follow through is amongst the most beautiful things to watch. There is one player that can turn this picture into reality…..Ian Bell. The weight transfer, knee bend, strong wrist and solid bat face will produce a shot that will turn heads. So how does he make it look so effortless? Lets break the shot down…

Play the ball late and play it in front of your eyes as late as you possibly can. This is even more important if the ball is swinging, seaming or spinning. If you reach out or commit too early you are vinerable to being caught behind or bowled through the gate.

Pick the right ball, when it is turning or swinging, wait for the really full one, the one you can get on the half volley. Against spinners footwork is the key. Can you get forward far enough to smother the spin or to turn a good length ball into a half volley. Don’t over commit too soon, if you misread the length you need to be able to correct yourself quickly.

Practise simple movements over and over again. It is about training the muscle memory and the good and simple habits, the more you practise the better. Practise this new skill by using stationary balls, drop balls, underarm throws from your coach or partner. Be hard on yourself to get it right. Practise playing straight and then, find the gaps by using the writsts to manipulate the ball into space. Use cones as fielders.

Bat the conditions, on a hard wicket you can play through the line from good length balls, even back of a length. If an off-spinner is turning it, unless it’s really full, turn your wrists with the spin and hit straighter, or even through the leg side. Left arm spinners want you to drive too, so get to the pitch of the ball and play as late as possible.

Anatomy of the cover drive:

  • Head still
  • Comfortable but positive stride
  • Knee bend
  • Weight transfer
  • Solid top hand wrist
  • Use both hands
  • Solid bat face
  • Hands going to the target
  • Good follow-through