What Hashim Amla brings to the game that other’s don’t?


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The highest score of Hashim Amla in the current series has been 56. He enters the Johannesburg Test at the back of scores like 0, 8, 27, 31 and, 31. This is unusual for South Africa, ghastly for home crowd, and a big anomaly for a cricketer who’s made record books grow copious with outstanding individual accomplishments. It could be likened to a sudden glitch in a perfectly fine error free system that doesn’t know what it is like to work on truncated runs. It’s not too hard to understand why.  In Amla’s world, usually a customary gaze at runs scored, impact generated is tantamount to mind-bending feats. So the right-hander seeming out of sorts is the kind of occurrence that happens on a poor day spent batting on a computer game.

A Cricketer who puts the team first

But perhaps the rather absurdly strange reactions from both within the cricketing circle and those at its periphery owe their rise to Amla’s superlative consistency of nearly always featuring among the runs. He’s not the kind of player who is designed to remain off the competition. He’s the kind of player who’s hardwired to dominate proceedings. Hashim Amla is a kind of enthralling talent who has developed to purge inconsistencies from South Africa’s game. Not depict those.
How else would you justify a record that for its sheer opulence and grandeur that seems more likely to be compared to one among the wonders of the world? 28 Test centuries, 26 ODI centuries, nearly 16000 international runs. It’s unreal. It’s sublime. And in all likelihood, seems destined to stand the tests of times.
But perhaps it ought to be said that a minor flailing from his unusually high standards only indicates just how implicitly we have grown to expect this graceful scorer to construct lasting monuments. The kinds only he can design. The kinds he tempted us into admiring for emoting a sense of sheer sense of timelessness. Remember his 311 not out against England, in England? Remember his century in his hundredth Test?

An affectionate competitor

What moves fans to the edge of their feats is not merely Amla’s ability to convert breezy starts into glowing scores. But just how incredibly well does he go about being in the thick of things, splicing anticipation of match winning performances into their fruition. It’s the kind of site that rejoices the local fan base and drives rivals to admiration. You don’t sledge Hashim Amla, you take your hats off when extending a handshake. Few have been able to master innings with such precise focus and method as Amla. Of course, belongs the rare pedigree of men who weren’t born with the exquisite thunder that blokes like Jayasuriya, Hayden, Sehwag, De Villiers possess.
He may not seem like a thoroughbred but has transpired into being a long distance runner. The phenomenon could be likened to being a kind of horse that can change the course of speed- from racing in blitz into entering a period of restraint- but one that can win you races.

Adept at power-hitting, adept at essaying ‘blockathons’

Rare it is to spot a batsman who can tank outrageously meaningful scores with undulating rhythm. And even more admirable, is his unwavering focus. On two glorious occasions, one against Sri Lanka- as Amla endured terse weather and tumult in scoring 25 off 159 at Colombo, 2014 and the other against England, as Amla embraced a godly particle of focus and self-preservation, scoring an epic 201 off 477 at South Africa in 2016- did he essay showmanship with sober colours. Yet, he’s someone who’s marvellously at peace with upping the ante of scoring.
He was there when Stokes threatened to take the game away from South Africa through his boisterous 258 off 198, wherein he scored an unbeaten double hundred as captain. He was also present when top honours for slaying the West Indies in 2015 went to De Villiers- 149 off 44. Amla, who had opened remained unbeaten for 153, the top score on a card that was De Villiers’ legendary invitation to enter a league of rare batsmen.

An embodiment of great respect

Yet each time, it appears, despite constructing lasting monuments, Amla wishes to remain sagely aloof from warm receptions and theatrics of fanfare. Both of which grace him just as much as he wishes to contain himself in a bubble he prefers to repose into when scoring mighty bouts of runs. At 35 and set to participate what may eventually be his final World Cup appearance, South Africans would be mightily pleased that at the very top of their order is a scholastic force who holds the power to change the order of a game entirely on his own. Happy 35th Hashim Amla.


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