Hashim Amla - the jewel in South Africa's cricketing crown

Hashim Amla has scored with such prolific consistency that he has far outstripped Viv Richards’ record of 69 visits in the middle to overhaul the 3,000 mark © Getty Images

It’s sad that Hashim Amla has not got his due as a standout player in One-Day Internationals. What is phenomenal is that of 3,031 career runs, 2609 have come in victorious causes – a jaw-dropping 86.07 per cent! And all his hundreds have resulted in South Africa winning the game. Nishad Pai Vaidya puts things in proper perspective.

 

 

In the crude age of T20 cricket, silken touch and grace is like an oasis in the desert. In an era where bludgeoning attacks is the order of the day, Hashim Amla stands out as a staunch student of cricket’s copybook – a delight of the purists. For a batsman who was stereotyped as one for the longer formats, he has smashed his way past those perceptions and established himself as one of the world’s best One-Day International (ODI) batsman. His recent knock of 150 in the game against England was another example of how well he has evolved as a one-day batsman.

 

During his fantastic century against England, Amla became the fastest to score 3,000 runs in ODIs. It has taken him only 57 innings and that places him ahead of the great Sir Viv Richards – the previous record holder. Amla has scored with such prolific consistency that he has far outstripped Richards’ record of 69 hits in the middle to overhaul the 3,000 mark. Over the years, Amla has moved from strength to strength in both the Test and the one-day arena, but the latter has somewhat been eclipsed by the classical format.

 

The best thing about Amla’s batting in one-day cricket has been his strike-rate. With a strike-rate of 92.54, one may get the feeling that he hits his way around the park and bullies the bowlers in the long run. However, a typical Amla knock is devoid of any brutality. He quietly works his way around with his trademark silken touch and merely caresses the ball across.

 

Amla is truly a class act, who can improvise if he feels the need to, but such moments are rare. During his innings of 150 against England, he moved across his stumps with the intention of scooping it over fine-leg. The bowler saw him move and bowled it way outside off. In a remarkable adjustment, Amla merely rolled his wrists and played it fine past the keeper to the third man boundary! Touch of genius!

 

He forges a formidable partnership with Graeme Smith. The South African captain is more aggressive of the two, but his career strike-rate is lesser than that of Amla. Smith is more destructive in his stroke-play – where his attacking game may have more of a psychological impact than that of Amla. It is this reason why they complement each other very well in the middle and form a strong partnership. Both batsmen have a sound technique and a tendency to find the gaps which makes life difficult for the bowlers.

 

Numbers reflect a prolific tale – one that continues to amaze the cricket world. Amla may not have played too many ODIs, but if his continued consistency and of course record in the classical format is anything to go by, he will end up as one of the finest one-day players.

 

Here are his numbers:

M Runs Avg Strike-rate 100s 50s Highest
59 3031 58.28 92.54 10 18 150

 

Amla’s contributions more often than not results in a win for the Proteas.

 

Here is his record in victories and defeats:

M Runs Avg Strike-rate 100s 50s Highest
Victories 41 2609 72.47 94.56   10 15     150
Defeats 16 419 26.18 82.15     0 3       65

 

 

What is phenomenal is that out of 3,031 career runs, 2609 have come in victorious causes – a jaw-dropping 86.07 per cent. And all his hundreds have resulted in South Africa winning the game which reflects a lot on his ability to create a platform for others to build upon.

 

South Africa have now been crowned the No 1 side in Tests and ODIs during their ongoing sojourn in England. It was only too appropriate that Amla scripted fantastic knocks to get them the crowning glory. The triple hundred at The Oval and the hundred at Lord’s all but settled the tale. The 150 in the first ODI secured another number one spot. With him quietly leading their charge, Amla is poised to take South African cricket to great heights in the near future.

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He can be followed on Twitter at  http://twitter.com/nishad_44 )