You’re right that the cover drive is a crucial shot for you. Most balls thrown at you will be on the front foot on the off stump. If you can hit an over-pitched ball, it forces the bowler to get his length right.
- Set up zones in the nets with cones or other markers. Place a cone for each fielder at point, cover, mid-off, and mid-on.
- Have a friend or coach throw the ball to you at full length at an off stump, either under or over the arm.
- Look at the space between the fielders before you start so your brain knows where the area is on the field.
- Your partner’s different throws will give you some wide and straight balls. Have them start slow so you can control where you hit the ball.
Try to hit the ball out of the court.
When you are good at this, have them throw balls a little bit wider so you can practice hitting them between point and mid-off.
Focus on the line and length that you can change.
Increase the speed of your throws so your brain can get used to the faster pace. If you can use a bowling machine, do this for a few weeks. Your brain will adjust, and you’ll find that you can work at faster speeds without getting tired.
Pay attention to playing close to your body, in your zone, and under your eyes. The fast bowler will try to get you to play away from your body so you can’t control the ball.
Leave alone anything more significant than you can control. Wait for the next ball and the bowler to hit your scoring areas.
Pay attention to your defence and strike rotation so you can bat for a long time. Don’t try to hit a cover drive; instead, let your strokes come naturally. When the lousy ball arrives, your work will make it go away.
Don’t waste time looking for the cover drive as the season is coming. Instead, let it grow into your game on its own.
The sweep is a good shot against spinners, especially regarding rotating the strike and changing the field.
You can learn to play this shot at any length, and if you learn to judge it well, you can sweep almost any ball far enough.
Most of your shots against fast bowlers will be off the front foot, so you need to get back into the habit of hitting the ball with a vertical, straight bat to defend, change the strike, or drive the ball.
Make this your new habit, so it takes the place of the bad one you have picked up. Against the quicks, you can’t sweep.
Set up a marked area from cover to mid-wicket. You can use cones or other markers to do this. Aim to hit back any balls that are straight and full into this zone.
Do this every time you practice in the nets for three or four weeks. It takes about 21 days to form a new habit, but I think it will be easier for you because it’s already part of your game.
The vertical bat shot makes great players like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar so good.
Batting Game Plan
Place increase… When you’re in the nets or doing shadow batting, tilt your head down and toward your left shoulder ( as a proper hand batter).
Practice this, take your time between balls in the nets, and set your stance. When watching the bowler come in, put your chin down and slightly toward your shoulder, and keep your head and body still. This is shown well by Sachin.
Each ball, do this over and over until it happens on its own. Graeme Smith is very good at this. In his “between-ball” routine, he takes his time, locks his head in place, and sets his mind.
Focus: As the bowler gets closer and starts his load, switch your focus to full and look at the seam on the ball. Keeping your head still means you have good information and can make good decisions.
Set 2: Position of the body and bat.
Find a straight line on the floor, like a line of tiles or floorboards, and practice swinging the bat down and through while keeping the face of the blade through the imaginary ball. This is the Bradman Drill.
Weight forward and let the hands naturally check the shot or flow through into an entire drive.
Sachin also taps his bat. When you practice shadow drives, ensure the inside of your right forearm brushes against your shirt. This is important for both front-foot and back-foot movements. This means that you have your hands close to your body.
Practice this in front of a mirror to see and feel what you’re doing. Watch how your bat moves in a straight line as you swing it.
Do this with a partner or coach during throw-downs. We are stepping up the intensity and speed. This will become a part of your game over time.
During the game, you should forget about it and watch the ball.