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The Best of Batting

I haven’t posted much up of late (since about August) in terms of text.  This is a pretty bite sized “article” but stay tuned for a written preview of the Ashes in the coming months.  Until then, I was musing on who has the best individual strokes, and other batting qualities (rotation of strike, technique etc) in the world.  So here is my list.  Not much in the way of justifications here, but I have added a short sentence or two for each component.

Best technique: Cook (Kallis is an honorable mention, still…dopplegangers Trott and Amla also in the discussion but a step behind)
Best shot selection: Amla (the two great openers, Smith and Cook are right there, as you’d expect, Trott had a tough year but very little in this category)
Best strike rotator: Smith (Clarke has lost half a step in his running with injuries and has become more boundary focused - to his benefit - over the years, the Smith push behind square is still nearly impossible to stop, Trott again, with a bounce back year, can take this mantle back)
Best cut: Cook (Sangakkara, at this stage of his career, has to be considered questionable against pace, at least by the standard of true elite bats)
Best pull: Warner (Pietersen plays this shot viciously and on the front foot but typically only when set - from #4)
Best square drive: Dilshan (loves to play it and it looks ugly but he gets a lot of runs on it, Gambhir held this for years but can’t bring myself to name him now.  Not many players, especially outside Asia, play it)
Best cover drive: Clarke (not close)
Best off drive: Kallis (Gayle uses it more for more runs but it’s a significantly more dangerous stroke, Watson has a fine off drive, another relatively rare stroke)
Best straight drive: Gayle (Tendulkar has fallen off just too much, but ruled this category for twenty years, with a brief threat from Matthew Hayden)
Best on drive: Clarke (again, not close, though Kevin Pietersen acolytes would be disappointed)
Best play of slow bowling: Clarke (Sangakkara is still close here, his dominance of Pakistan was overwhelming but Clarke is still the standard)
Best glancer: Amla (Chanderpaul held the crown for many, many years but Amla is the new standard)