HomeAnalysisA Tribute To Hashim Amla: The Gentle Giant Of...

A Tribute To Hashim Amla: The Gentle Giant Of Proteas Cricket

- Advertisement -

Hashim Amla just turned 37 yesterday. He was last seen with a cricket bat in hand during the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2019. It’s already been 10 months since “Hash” moved on from the game, in the same customary gentle fashion in which he’d emerged- first in Tests, circa 2004, and 4 years later, in the ODIs.

It’s not hard to see how his exit has impacted South Africa, a team currently amid testing times trying to rebuild.

- Advertisement -

The Proteas lost to England in Tests at home, 2019-2020 series, which was a bit strange.

Wondering why?

Maybe the ease with which Root led his team to a comprehensive win may not have been possible on Amla’s watch.

He wasn’t just a consistent scorer against the English. He put his opponents under the hammer of his bat, scoring 1900 of his 9200 plus Test runs against them. Do the maths, nearly a fifth of Amla’s runs in Tests came against England 

Amla Could Have Thwarted English Assault

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla Celebrates a century in ODI

Had Amla been around and in the form with which he usually whipped England, it would’ve been an engaging site to see him battle Mark Wood and Ben Stokes, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Sam Curran- quintuplet tyrants who hounded his team so much that it led to Faf abdicating the captaincy altogether.

You understand a lot about cricket when its premier batsmen guide the sport to serene heights, especially during a time of crisis.

Picture Lara versus Sri Lanka in 2002-03 series. 688 runs against Murali and Vaas with West Indies being punched haplessly. 

Picture Dravid against England during the 2011 India tour- 3 centuries culminating into 468 runs in the very series where India’s gods and silky wristy batsmen flunked.

Hashim Amla: The Run Machine Against England

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla sweeps a ball against England

But never forget, Hashim Amla during his mighty exploits against a line-up comprising of Anderson, Broad, Finn, and Stokes in the 2016 Tests.

The great South African chose the very occasion to deny England the glory that may have clearly belonged to them, specifically Ben Stokes, for his fiery 258 off just 198. As the visitors crushed the Proteas through a daunting 629 in the first inning, Amla’s response was typically classy and watchful.

A 201 off 477 deliveries, helped by Faf and AB scoring big runs, led to an inspirational comeback for the hosts.

South Africa conjured 627, nearly drawing level with England, fashioning a taunting comeback at the back of Amla’s ingenious show.

Hashim Amla: The “blockathon”

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla defending a ball in a test match against India

Maybe it was Hashim Amla’s way of telling his opposite number- Alastair Cook- that “if you can cook our bowlers, we can barbecue yours.”

A magnificent double hundred, at Centurion, came at the back of the (then) Proteas captain who didn’t just score runs; but batted on and on.

And by the time the bearded genius walked back, he’d already spent 707 minutes on the crease. The blunt defense riling up Broad and Anderson who, in the absence of swing, rested on yorkers and a barrage of bouncers.

Alas, in the end, they’d only meet the excruciating site of Amla leaving one delivery too many for English comfort.

On a pitch where batsmen didn’t have to sweat or slog for runs, watching South Africa’s methodical architect in the middle was like witnessing a silent gladiator standing up to the Romans.

Nearly 2 and a half T20Is can be rendered complete in the timespan Hashim stayed put. In that regard, Hashim Amla, 28 Test centuries against his name, also epitomized the dying art of batting time. 

Not that grinding England at home was the first time the right-hander demonstrated the rare quality. In 2015, during a ghastly defeat at the hands of India, in Delhi, with his team needing an improbable 481, Hashim Amla batted for 244 deliveries and 289 minutes for his 25.

An ordinary knock became extraordinary given a one-sided game where the writing was on the wall stretched onto the final day.

Not all sparks in the Proteas fire had to burn the others; some were tiny mutant ones that were enough to wane out opponents.

The Gentle Giant Of Proteas Cricket

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla celebrates his century in his style

Someone whose personality mirrored his batting style, it has to be said, the modern conception of the game is devoid of men.

This being an age where verbal volleys, crude mannerisms, and too much roleplaying in the name of being fighting adventurists make it rather easy to separate the boys from the men.

What the sport misses about Hashim Amla is not just his calm personality and gentle mannerisms alone.

It misses an extraordinary spectacle wherein alongside giants in Kallis, Steyn, De Villiers, Morkel, and Smith, his simple self conjured an equivalent of a South African safari.

A team one feared taking on, a side that wasn’t easy to snub given its awe-inspiring stars.

This prompts a question.

Should Hashim Amla Have Stayed On?

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla walks out of the field after being hit by a bouncer in a ODI

Not really. The sight of a newcomer Jofra Archer felling South Africa’s tall accumulator of runs in 2019 World Cup contest wasn’t a pretty one.

Just the way it wasn’t too inspiring to note that from the onset of 2015, a year synonymous for Amla notching up well over 1,000 ODI runs, there weren’t too many runs coming.

Maybe it was wise to walk into the sunset, which may surely have been a tough call to make, just like for the fan it was tough to deal with the fact that in Cricket’s premier event, in 2019, Amla made only 200 odd runs with just 2 fifties, his strike rater an underwhelming one at 64.

This wasn’t the Hashim Amla that had plundered Ireland, in 2015 World Cup, on way to a rip-roaring 159 (also his best ODI score) that came off just 128 deliveries (4 sixes, 16 fours).

But like all good things must come to an end, even as the end, according to some, can be delayed like a suspenseful climax, Hashim Amla called time on his journey in 2019, but having played for a decade and a half.

And this wasn’t before, he stamped his authority in both formats, contesting with cerebral powers and the ability to focus for long periods of time.

Something which may never have come easy, given he faced massive competition in both disciplines of the game.

That he collected some 19,000 international runs shouldn’t be lauded alone for scoring dollops of runs. But more so since these came amid a climate of intense competition, wherein famous contemporaries included- Sachin to Kohli, Clarke to Smith, Gayle to Hope, McCullum to deGrandhomme, while those who targeted his stumps were greats: Johnson, Anderson, Zaheer, Herath, Lyon, Starc, Malinga, Roach among the others.

A Legend Who Shall Not Be Forgotten

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla drive one on the up

And that being said, none of what Hashim Amla achieved- with zero arrogance and pure elegance- but also heightening sensory pleasure through silky strokeplay and enviable wristiness came amid times of transformation.

When he was a cricketing newborn, South Africa were safely in the grasp of Kallis and Smith where Steyn and Morkel were newcomers.

By the time Amla walked back, he’s already done enough to inspire with a new generation that now has a quartet of newbies- Malan, Hamza, Klaasen, and Nortje, (not to forget Pretorius).

In the middle, together with Faf, AB, Tahir, Philander, and Duminy, he resuscitated the Protea fire.

This was not only his mission in life but an avid philosophy to which he contributed as South Africa’s Dark Knight.

List of some dazzling feats of Amla

SI. Name of record No. of innings
1.   Fastest to 7,000 ODI runs   150
2.   Fastest to 6,000 ODI runs   123
3.   Fastest to 5,000 ODI runs   101
4.   Fastest to 4,000 ODI runs   81
5.   Fastest to 3,000 ODI runs   57
6.   Fastest to 2,000 ODI runs   40
7. Only second SA batsman to score 1,000 ODI runs vs England The first batsman to do so, being Kallis
8. Only the fourth SA batsman to score 8,000 ODI runs Others being AB, Kallis, Gibbs
9. 1,000 international ODI runs against various teams These being West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka  
10. Highest and lowest ODI averages vs teams Highest ODI avg of 88 v Ire, 33 vs Aus
11. Crossing 1,000 plus ODI runs in a calendar year  Came twice in his career, 2010, 2015
12. Overall Test and ODI tons   55, 28 in Tests, 27 in ODIs
13. Crossing 1,000 plus calendar runs in Tests   Thrice; 2008, 2010, 2012

Follow us on facebook for more sports updates

- Advertisement -
Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

15 Highly Educated Cricketers Of All Time

Cricket is a game of passion and dedication. A sport in which one involves themselves in camps and practice since early childhood. Due to...

Do we often under-appreciate Andy Flower? What’s his legacy?

There's a hint of sadness in noting that Zimbabwe has never been a dominant power in world cricket. But nothing could be sadder than...

Why are more and more MotoGP riders using the Noson nasal dilator?

Introduction MotoGP riders or athletes are physically fit and healthy individuals and their muscles are continuously functioning and used during the performance. As a fan...

How Come UFC Fighters Have Cauliflower Ears But Boxers Don’t?

The UFC has come a long way since its early days, wherein the fights seemed like modern-day gladiators due to its brutality and inconsistent...

5 spinners who can be India’s potential finger-spinners

The Indian cricket team has always been proud of its ability to produce world-class batsmen and similarly potent spinners. Though in recent times, the...

IPL 2018: The beautiful Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

Being seated in the Sawai Mansingh stadium brings a different world, a world of difference away from the palpable excitement of watching truly India’s...

Top 5 Left Wingers In The World, Based On 2019-20 Season

Owing to the fact that football has evolved a lot since its inception and the tactics have changed a lot, the role of wingers...

The astonishing decline of Mario Balotelli

There was a time when Mario Balotelli was on top of the world.  The Italian talisman had scored two goals in the Euro 2012 semi-finals,...

What can be expected from the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

Heat in the air and heat inside the car- that's been the story of the Azerbaijan Grand prix. As F1 parks itself at Baku...

How Suresh Raina Batted India Into The Finals of 2011 World Cup

Its been 9 years, since India won the Cricket World Cup defeating Sri Lanka on 2 April, 2011. The images and visuals of...

IPL 2018: The best from the West Indies

When one of nature's treacherous attacks on mankind- earthquakes- strike, their impact is measured on Richter's scale. When West Indians strike in a tournament...

Big change for India Women’s cricket as BCCI looks to finalise bowling coach soon

We are not even at the halfway stage of the 2018 cricketing season. It clearly seems there's no stopping India's women's cricket team. The...

Age Fraud in Indian Cricket: Are players really to be blamed?

There have been times while watching a cricket match when we tend to hear commentators comment on cricketers’ age. We as fans have many...

Ajax XI if they didn’t sell their star players

Based in Amsterdam, AFC Ajax, who incidentally draw their name from the legendary Greek hero of the same name, are the most successful club...

5 famous players to play for both Leeds United and Liverpool

Leeds United are back in the Premier League after 16 years and will play Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday in their very first match...

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -