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A Happy Retirement to Hasim Amla

Hasim Amla; world-class South African batsmen retired from International Cricket on 8th August.  He wasn’t just an accomplished opening batsman; he was a constructor of tall statistical skyscrapers for South Africa 

DT
Last updated: 10.08.2019
A Happy Retirement to Hasim Amla | Sports Social Blog

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You appreciate their virtuosity, when batsmen consolidate hundreds consistently. But you realize their greatness, when a majority of those hundreds come in winning causes.

 

Only 2 of Hashim Amla’s ODI hundreds ever came in a losing cause for South Africa. He wasn’t just an accomplished opening batsman; he was a constructor of tall statistical skyscrapers for South Africa, many of whose roofs touch the skies.

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From 2004 until 2019, Hashim Amla was responsible for scoring in excess of 18,000 international runs along with 55 hundreds and 80 half-centuries.

 

For a period of five years starting 2010 until 2014, Amla batted with an average of 65 in Tests.

 

And he made those runs with immaculate precision, firm control, and unquestionable grace.

 

For a batsman who was dropped after barely playing 3 Tests only to return firmer, scoring a determined 149 against New Zealand in just the fourth Test of his career, Hashim Amla was an embodiment of firm Protean resolve.

 

He didn’t just survive early career jitters but constructed a batting graph that attracted lofty comparisons with the greats.

 

A resolute rock at the top order, he was also a calculative knitter of partnerships with the middle order and often a marathon runner who emerged unconquerable in the end.

 

Whether it’s his 176 that came in 2007, his 253 in 2010 or his triple-hundred in 2012, Amla remained unbeaten on each of these great Test outings, raising the bat to soak in thundering applause from the crowds and with it, the bar for classic Test batsmanship.

 

The uniqueness of Hashim Amla stemmed from the fact that he was seldom perturbed at the crease whilst being at the top of his opponents without ever rubbing his victories on their face.

 

Few have adapted their game so well over a period of time and even fewer have scaled milestones with the gentility and firmness. Perhaps the fact that we recount his easy-going, unassuming conduct over and above his awe-inspiring feats, being the fastest to reach 2000,3000, 4000,5000,6000 and 7000 ODI runs- a world record that stands unmoved to this day- breaks the notion that cricket concerns itself merely with stats and not with character.

 

If Pakistan had Younis Khan, and India Rahul Dravid then in Hashim Amla, South Africa contributed a gentle giant of the game who commanded admiration from his opponents whilst sheer, unparalleled love from his compartiots.

 

Whether it is the graceful forward movement from the back foot, the elegant swing of the high back-lift from the gully region, the constant explorations toward the cover and mid-wicket regions and even the gentle movement of the ball away from the whisk of that great unique beard.

 

A Kallis may always rightly be revered for being modern-cricket’s greatest all round cricketer. De Villiers may always be considered the greatest entertainer that emerged from the Rainbow Nation.

 

But it appears that Hashim Amla, 36, shall go down in history books as perhaps the last classical batsman to have burst on the scene, boasting not only of a technique the best coaches point to in manuals but of a conversion rate in ODIs that gives serious work to number crunchers.

 

To a side that unfurled giants of the modern era in Allan Donald, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, and Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, along with AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, was a continuer of the great Protean legacy; talents that moved one in as much awe as admiration.

 

You didn’t get cold stares from the kind, genteel right-hander and you never found the need to sledge him.

 

Few batsmen have gone onto hold the fort, raise the bar and convert fluent starts into big, match-winning innings as prolifically as Hashim Amla, now a retired batsman.

 

It’s strange to think of the fact that until a few hours back, an active, prodigious run-scoring Protean machine was described as a ‘current member’ of the South African side and a few hours hence, his credentials describe him as a ‘former member’ of South Africa’s national team.

 

But while the runs may have dried from 2015 onward, what didn’t was the passion to don the familiar sparkling green for a team he once famously confessed he bleeds ‘green.’

 

Adieu, Hashim Amla. 


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