Hashim Amla - the man with the golden bat

Since February 2010, Hashim Amla (above) averages a phenomenal 71.21. In 22 matches he has smashed 10 hundreds – a century after almost every two games! © Getty Images

Centuries from Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis have given South Africa a strong platform in the first Test against Australia at Brisbane. The holders of the No 1 spot in the Test rankings are looking for an encore of their previous tour Down Under, when they beat the Australians 2-1. After toppling England from the No 1 pedestal in England, the Proteas look confident to stop the resurgent Aussies in their tracks.

 

Amla has dominated the year 2012. Runs have flowed from his bat at a torrential rate across all formats. For a player who wasn’t considered a one-day player, he has made a successful transition into the coloured clothing and scores as fast as anyone. He combines the cool-headed approach with a sense of urgency to get things going. In Test cricket, his mere presence at No 3 is a calming influence on the side.

 

Since the tour to India in 2010, Amla has been quite prolific. In that two-match Test series, he smashed three hundreds, a mammoth 253 not out at Nagpur and then two at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the ground he made his debut in 2004. Amla’s consistency has touched new peaks since then and his record makes interesting reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The relevant numbers:

 

M

Runs

Avg

100s

50s

Highest

Overall

63

5050

50.50

17

23

311*

Since Feb 2010

22

2279

71.21

10

7

311*

 

Since February 2010, Amla averages a phenomenal 71.21. In 22 matches he has smashed 10 hundreds –- a century after almost every two games! The 253 not out he scored at Nagpur was his highest score for quite some time until he bettered it in England this year with the 311 not out that set the tone for their charge to the number one spot. South Africa have worked their way to the top spot and Amla’s consistency is proof of it in a microcosm.

 

While there may have been a few rough patches in the last two years for Amla, he has shown remarkable fight to bounce back –- and in style. For example, the tour to New Zealand early this year was a quiet one by his standards. He scored only two fifties in the three Tests. But in his next series, against England, he scored that memorable triple at The Oval and the series- winning 121 at Lord’s. He has now kicked off the Australian summer with yet another hundred. The danger signal for Australia is already hoisted! Once Amla gets his eye in, it is extremely difficult to dismiss him.

 

Australia-South Africa contests have the potential to produce cricket that defies imagination. Who can forget the two-match Test series last year! It was absolute carnage in the first Test at Cape Town as the pendulum of momentum swung wildly between the two sides. Through that, it needed Amla’s calm and remarkable composure to restore the balance of things. The partnership with Graeme Smith in the fourth innings helped South Africa win and a ton in the next game stabilised them. The Proteas need similar performances from him Down Under.

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist 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 has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)