People who watch cricket think that each shot a batter plays is beautiful in its own way. But there are some moves that are both fun to watch and hard for batsmen to do. That’s why the straight drive has its own place in the game.
To hit a perfect straight drive, the batter needs to have perfect timing, footwork, body position, head position, and be able to tell how long the ball is coming.
Here’s a look at ten of the best straight drive players.
1. Sachin Tendulkar
In terms of the straight drive, Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar may as well have copyrighted the stroke and barred others from playing it. He was that brilliant at it, and the plethora of videos on the internet featuring only his straight drives during his 24-year career attest to his mastery of the technique.
Good batsmen pick up lengths early, regardless of the pace at which a bowler is bowling, and what often made Tendulkar’s straight drives even better was his ability to smother deliveries that were swinging in or out before going through with his signature thump past the bowler.
2. Ricky Ponting
Ponting could hit the ball with tremendous force and accuracy, sending it hurtling through the air because of his rapid hand speed. His ability to hit the straight drive with assurance and control was a key component of his success as a batsman.
3. Rahul Dravid
The man referred to as “The Wall” of Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid, was a master at hitting straight drives. Dravid was well known for his ability to play the ball straight down the ground with grace and accuracy. He also had excellent defence and technique.
Dravid’s technique was built on a strong foundation of footwork and balance, which enabled him to contact the ball precisely at the correct location and execute perfect weight transfer. Rahul Dravid relied heavily on the straight drive during his storied career, and it was an effective shot for him, particularly in Test cricket.
4. Brian Lara
One of Lara’s most graceful shots was his straight drive, which made him one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He could hit the shot with a lot of force and accuracy since he had the ideal balance and timing.
5. Jacques Kallis
One of the greatest all-rounders in cricket history, Jacques Henry Kallis, had timing and footwork straight out of a textbook, allowing him to smash the ball down the ground with style and force. His straight drives frequently astounded onlookers with their pure mastery of this iconic cricket stroke.
6. Virender Sehwag
Although Sehwag was an expert at all strokes, one of his most lethal tools was his straight drive. He possessed the strength to easily hit the ball over the boundary, and he frequently did so with daring timing.
7. Virat Kohli
Arguably the finest batsman of this generation, Virat Kohli possesses a multitude of flawless strokes in his repertoire. He has great control of his shots and executes them brilliantly.
Virat Kohli’s ability to hit the ball in the middle of the bat and drive it effortlessly towards the boundary, along with his stunning straight drive, showcases his batsmanship.
Also Read | Virat Kohli’s Cover Drive: Strength or Weakness?
8. Steve Smith
Steve Smith is currently one of the top batsmen in the world, and his straight drive is one of his most lethal weapons. His unorthodox approach enables him to hit the ball with remarkable accuracy and force. Smith’s straight drive is one of the most frightening shots in the modern game of cricket.
9. Stephen Fleming
Fleming was another outstanding straight-driver. He had a very graceful swing and could strike the ball with outstanding timing and placement. One of the most feared shots in world cricket was Fleming’s straight drive.
10. AB de Villiers
Former South African cricketer Abraham Benjamin de Villiers received numerous distinctions over his 15-year international career. What distinguished de Villiers was his ability to adapt to a variety of game conditions.
To meet the needs of the game, he could seamlessly flip between classic, textbook straight drives and bold, improvisational variants. His unpredictability and ingenuity made him a bowler’s nightmare.
These are only a few of the many well-known straight-drive experts in cricket history. Witnessing this beautiful shot from Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli is a delight for cricket fans, as it can be deadly for bowlers. The grace and force with which these great players execute the straight drive are enthralling to watch.