2019 Cricket World Cup tracker: Where does Hashim Amla stand?
Hashim Amla is not part of South Africa's current ODI squad. © AFP

Despite the omission of Hashim Amla from South Africa‘s ODI squad for the first three matches versus Sri Lanka – as well as a few other players who featured against Pakistan recently – the CSA national selection panel convenor Linda Zondi pointed out that none of them have been axed.

Amla’s was the big name missing from South Africa’s latest ODI squad, revealed on Sunday, but Zondi was keen to stress that the veteran of 174 matches had not been dropped. (READ: South Africa slip to third  in ICC Test rankings)

“We know what Hashim Amla has to offer us and he remains a senior member of our squad,” said Zondi.

These five ODIs against Sri Lanka at home are the only one-day games South Africa play before the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup gets underway on May 30 in England. He is not part of the IPL and there is little domestic cricket to keep the 35-year-old busy.

Thus the timing of Amla’s omission from the squad is perplexing.

He is South Africa’s fourth-highest run-getter in ODIs with 7910, and his 27 hundreds are a national record. Since the start of 2018, Amla averages 35.26 in 16 ODI innings, with one century and three fifties. In this time, his strike-rate has been 89.35 which is marginally higher than his career strike-rate.

SOUTH AFRICA’S TOP 5 ODI RUN-GETTERS (last 12 months)

Player M I Runs HS Avg SR 100s 50s
F du Plessis 12 11 469 125 58.62 87.33 1 2
R Hendricks 14 14 413 102 31.76 79.57 1 2
Q de Kock 11 11 389 87 35.36 103.73 0 3
H Amla 10 10 375 108* 41.66 96.15 1 2
D Miller 11 10 328 139 41.00 106.84 1 2

In October, he had missed an ODI series against Zimbabwe on account of the injury sustained during the Caribbean Premier League and was replaced by Test specialist Dean Elgar, who scored 2 and 4 in his two opportunities.

Amla will turn 36 in March, and thus it is clear that this will be his final World Cup. South Africa have tried out Aiden Markram, Elgar and Reeza Hendricks as openers when one of Amla or Quinton de Kock have been absent. Hendricks is the most successful with 184 runs in six innings, followed by Markram with 104 from three.

On paper, South Africa would ideally want Amla and de Kock to open in England given their association. With Markram dropped too, South Africa will open with de Kock and Hendricks in the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, ostensibly to judge how the latter fares with an eye on the third opener’s role at the World Cup.