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Hashim Amla seems to do a shoot for the coaching manuals as he does everything correct in essaying this shot at the Gabba on way to his 17 hundred on Day One of the ongoing first Test against Australia © Getty Images

By Safwan Umair

 

It was then, during a pulsating Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka when Dean Jones, the former Australian batsman now in the role of a cricket commentator, hurled an extremely offensive jibe at Hashim Amla.

 

“The terrorist has got another wicket!” said Jones, referring to Amla after he took a catch. Jones was under the impression that the microphone was not live. Regardless of that, his comment was absolutely preposterous.

 

Amla had been left out of the Test side after a disappointing debut in 2004 and this series was part of his comeback trail into top flight cricket. 
 

The quiet, soft-spoken and religiously devout Amla’s dignified response to the provocative and insensitiveness of Dean Jones left an indelible mark of respect in every cricketing fan’s heart.

 

Amla was identified as a cricketing prodigy and captaincy material very early in his First-class career. However, his evolution into a global cricketing superstar, which is now complete, took a few years to materialise. His demeanour is still refreshingly polite and unerringly humble – part of a wholesome package which makes him a fairly special person.

 

He has transformed himself into a truly great batsman since the Dean Jones remark. Great sportsmen know how to turn adversity to their own advantage. Playing his 63rd Test, Amla completed 5000 runs in the ongoing first Test against Australia. The hundred he scored at the Gabba was his 17th in Test cricket and he averages over 50 per outing.
 

An arguably greater testament to Amla’s incredible talent, adaptability and steely temperament is his One-Day International (ODI) record. Some doubted whether his cautiously elegant batting style could keep pace with the frenetic run-making rhythm of the modern-day limited-over formats. Incredibly, since making his ODI début in 2008, he has amassed 3216 runs at an average of almost 60!

 

There is no denying the importance of statistics and records, but more importantly it is the effortlessless and class with which he compiles his runs that stands out. His supple wrists enables him to play shots with a slight whip and make late contact with the ball. This makes it very hard for the bowlers to settle into a specific line and rhythm, as even good balls can disappear for runs on both sides of the wicket.

 

He is still only 29 years old, an age where a class batsman is usually in the prime of his cricketing career. And if form and fitness permits, there is no reason why Hashim Amla won’t rewrite many batting record books and firmly seal his spot as one of the finest ever batsmen to have played the game.

(Safwan Umair is a masters graduate in international business from the University of Manchester and an undergrad in business enterprise from the University of Glamorgan. The above post has been reproduced with permission from http://blogs.tribune.com.pk)