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5 active Test players with the highest average while playing the cover drive

  • A look at five active Test players who have the highest average while employing the cover drive.
  • Indian captain Virat Kohli is conspicuous by his absence but another Indian player appears in the list.
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 18 May 2020, 15:05 IST

Virat Kohli playing a cover drive in a Test match
Virat Kohli playing a cover drive in a Test match

The cover drive is one of the most aesthetically pleasing shots in Test cricket and is among the most productive shots in the game as well. Indian captain Virat Kohli is one of the players who have made meals out of milking Test bowlers for boundaries through the cover region.

Over the years, players like Damien Martyn, Mark Waugh and Rahul Dravid have been among the premier exponents of the cover drive. Among the current generation of players, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson score a considerable chunk of their runs through the covers by playing some beautiful strokes.

However, aesthetics and efficacy do not always go hand in hand as the numbers of most players would suggest. On that note, here is a list of the top five active international batsmen with the highest average while playing the cover drive.

Note: All batsmen must have scored a minimum of 300 runs solely with the cover drive since 2014.


5 active Test players with the highest average while playing the cover drive


5. Cheteshwar Pujara


Pujara is known as a Test specialist but not for his strokes and rather for his concentration and patience
Pujara is known as a Test specialist but not for his strokes and rather for his concentration and patience

Cheteshwar Pujara is one of India's premier active batsman in Test cricket who is known predominantly for his defence and not for his strokeplay. Pujara is India's most productive cover drive player, ahead of even Virat Kohli, with an average of 167.3 while playing the said stroke.

The Rajkot-born batsman has scored over 500 runs playing the shot at a strike rate of above 100. He has only been dismissed three times playing the cover drive. In contrast, Virat Kohli's Achilles' heel is said to be the line outside off-stump which he often counters by playing the on drive.

Pujara might not be the most elegant player when it comes to efficiency but he certainly does not lack in delivering the goods.

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4. Kane Williamson


Kane Williamson is as beautiful a player as he is efficient.
Kane Williamson is as beautiful a player as he is efficient.

The Kiwi skipper, Kane Williamson, is one of the most pleasing batsmen on the international circuit. He has a wide range of shots in his book and is a very elegant player to watch. Williamson relies much less on unorthodox or power shots. He has found success in every format of the game which is a feat not many players can boast of.

Williamson being among the best active players of the cover drive is not a surprise. He is one of the most prolific exponents of the shot in the modern game.

The New Zealand batsman has been dismissed four times playing the cover drive but he has also scored 715 runs playing the stroke. His average of close to 178 is considerably higher than that of Ross Taylor, who has the second-highest average (58) among New Zealand players while playing the shot.

Williamson is an epitome of 'beauty meets efficiency'.


3. Asad Shafiq


Asad Shafiq played a lone hand in Pakistan
Asad Shafiq played a lone hand in Pakistan's unsuccessful chase of 490 at the Gabba in 2016.

This might come as a surprise to a lot of people. But Asad Shafiq is indeed the third most effective player of the cover drive in Test cricket. The 34-year-old Karachi born batsman has been around for a few years but hasn't had too many laurels to his name.

Shafiq does have nine Test centuries while batting at number six, which is the most by any batsman in Test history at that position. The Gabba Test in 2016-17 was when Shafiq showcased his mettle.

With Pakistan tottering at 220-6, Shafiq scored a century, allied with useful contributions from the tail as the visitors pulled to within 40 runs of their massive 490-run chase on the final day.

Shafiq's cover drive numbers are very impressive. He has only been dismissed twice while playing the stroke and has managed to score over 400 runs with it. His average hits a staggering 214 when playing the cover drive. Pakistan's next most productive Test batsman while playing the cover drive is Younis Khan who averaged 136.


2. Faf Du Plessis


Faf du Plessis has played many a memorable test innings including a marathon against Australia on debut
Faf du Plessis has played many a memorable test innings including a marathon against Australia on debut

Faf Du Plessis' career has been a joy ride. Du Plessis on debut displayed his grit by scoring a match-saving century against Australia and has also scored a century in a D/N Test against the same team. The South African Test captain won a Test series in Australia which is a significant achievement.

When we talk about South African batsmen, the talk generally veers around Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis' immaculate and consistent scoring or AB de Villiers' maniacal episodes. Du Plessis does take a backseat when it comes to batting elegance but is one of the first names in the South African team when it comes to executing the cover drive.

He has only been dismissed twice in his career while playing the cover drive and has scored 572 Test runs at a mammoth average of 271. The Proteas batsman could certainly add to his imposing numbers in the next few years. However, Du Plessis' average while playing the cover drive is not the best by a South African player. That honour goes to the one who tops this list.


1. Aiden Markram


Aiden Markram has not yet been dismissed playing the cover drive
Aiden Markram has not yet been dismissed playing the cover drive

Faf du Plessis' loss turned out to be Aiden Markram's gain. After Du Plessis was ruled out of the ODI series against India due to a fractured finger, the 23-year-old Markram was named the stand-in captain of the South African team.

In the process, Markram became the second youngest player to lead the Proteas in the format. Graeme Smith, who was 22 years and 82 days old when captaining the side against Bangladesh, is the youngest ever player to captain South Africa.

It has just been over two years since Markram's debut. But during this span, he has scored over 1400 Test runs; 338 of them being through cover drives. Unlike every other batsman in the list, Markram has never been dismissed yet while playing the stroke.

Thus Markram, technically, has no average while playing the cover drive. Markram also has a strike rate of over 200 while playing the cover drive. In raw figures it means that when Markram plays a cover drive, he scores 200 runs every 100 balls.


Published 18 May 2020, 15:05 IST
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