It is very difficult to not be left mesmerized by the class and pulchritude of Hashim Amla’s batting. When on song, he seems to be batting in a different zone altogether with the fans in awe of a heavenly beauty on display. Such has been the batting prowess of Hashim Amla that he has garnered respect and admiration from cricket pundits all around the world.
Although Amla’s family have their roots in India, he was born in South Africa and learnt all the intricacies of cricket there. Learning cricket in South African setup did not prevent him from gaining a subcontinent flair to his game. His wrist work while playing the spinners or the pacers are an absolute treat to watch which is generally an attribute of the subcontinent players.
When on song, the playing conditions mattered the least to him. The period 2008-2014 saw him scoring tons of runs in every sphere the world. In this time span, he scored 5614 runs in 63 test matches at an excellent average of 59.88. He hit 19 centuries and and 22 half-centuries in the period.
The year 2015 saw a dip in his from as he managed just 251 runs in 8 tests at a paltry average of 22.82 with a lone 50+ score. However, he roared back into form in early 2016, scoring a majestic 201 against England in Newlands, Capetown. Though he managed to score runs in 2016 and 2017, the performances were not quite matching with the standards set by him.
He has been dearly struggling for form in 2018. The last time when he crossed the three figure mark was in 2017 against Bangladesh. In fact, his last three centuries have been in home conditions against the teams with a weak bowling attack ( 2 against Bangladesh and 1 against Sri Lanka). His last century against a quality bowling lineup was back in January 2016 against England. Though he has managed 11 half -century scores since then, but it is the three digit scores against quality oppositions that has kept eluding him.
Both pace and spin have become his nemesis. While he was constantly troubled and dismissed by pace against Australia earlier this year, Dilruwan Perera made him a bunny in the recently concluded test series against Sri Lanka.
He has been constantly troubled by the spinners in subcontinent. Since November 2015, he has been dismissed 11 times by the spinners in a total of 13 innings. It has been the reason behind his barren run in subcontinent conditions of late. With the age not by his side anymore, the clock might be ticking against him.
The retirement of AB de Villiers has created a huge void in the team, both in terms of batting and experience. Different players are going to be tried and tested at the vacant position.The players taking up his spot will need some time to settle into the role. So, it is necessary for Amla to shoulder a major part of batting responsibilities along with Elgar and du Plessis and guide this new look batting unit.
Players of his caliber are rarely found. His proficiency in tests as well as in ODIs and T20Is in this generation of slam-bang cricket makes him a legend.
We have witnessed great comebacks by the likes of Tendulkar and Ganguly after being down and out. Let us hope that we get to see Hashim Amla churning up big scores in test matches once again.