A statistical analysis of Hashim Amla's Test and ODI career
South African opener Hashim Amla recently announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket a month after his nation's disastrous World Cup campaign ended. Amla is regarded as one of the finest players to have represented South Africa. He burst onto the scene in 2004 when he played his debut Test against India. In the first two years of his career, he managed to play only three Tests.
Four years later, Amla made his debut in ODI cricket. He scored runs at a brisk rate as he became the fastest batsman to reach 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 ODI runs. Amidst Amla's rich form, comparisons began. He was compared to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara. He was considered to be the backbone of South Africa's batting line-up alongside AB de Villiers.
The 36-year-old braced quite a few challenges in his career. His career best Test score of 311* against England came while fasting. In which phase of his career did Amla suffer a slump in his form? Here's a statistical analysis to find out
Hashim Amla in Test Cricket
Amla began his Test career in 2004 but his recent years in Test cricket were a failure. In his first Test, he tackled the Indian spinners on his way to 24. In the early stages of his career, Amla displayed his technique against spin bowling. However, his off-stump was rattled by Irfan Pathan's out-swinging delivery.
In 2006, Amla scored 149 in an innings against New Zealand. This was a career-saving innings for the youngster as he became a regular member of South Africa's squad after this. In the following years, Amla conquered world cricket by scoring tons of runs for South Africa. From the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2014, Amla amassed 5614 runs at an average of 66.04.
These were the prime years of Amla's Test career. His form dipped in 2015 as failures struck. He averaged a mere 22.82 in 2015. This was the first year after 2005 where Amla did not score a single century. After two decent years in Test cricket, Amla suffered again. He featured in ten Tests in 2018 and scored only 510 runs at an average of 26.84.
Amla's overall statistics in Test cricket appear to be wonderful. He scored 9282 runs at an average of 46.64. He is the only South African cricketer to score a triple-hundred in Test cricket. Amla's real career-defining moments came in ODI cricket because he was considered a Test-specialist, whose strike-rate didn't allow him to play limited overs cricket.
Despite leading South Africa in the 2002 Under-19 World Cup, most experts believed that Amla wasn't a player who could excel in limited-overs cricket. In the first year of his ODI career, he smashed Bangladesh's bowlers in a game at Benoni. Amla scored 140 off 135 balls with eight fours and four sixes.
After his first century, there was no looking back as he marched on to new milestones. He brought his form from Test cricket to ODIs, from 2008 to 2014, Amla scored 4578 runs at an average of 53.23, during this time, he was at his best in test cricket. In 2015, Amla's poor form in Test cricket did not affect his ODI form as he managed to score 1062 runs at an average of over 50.
In 2019, Amla managed to score 417 runs at an average of 46.33 but his strike rate of 74.46 became problematic for the Proteas. This was the lowest strike-rate that Amla had maintained throughout any year of his career albeit he ended his career with a strike rate of over 85.
During the early stages of his career, Amla relied heavily on his hand-eye coordination and his trigger movement. As he grew older, the trigger movement became slow and Amla ended up in a position from where his bat movement was restricted. Despite his late failures, he ended his ODI career with 8113 runs at an average of 49.47.
His prolific career helped him to register his name in South Africa's record books as he retired as one of the finest South African batsmen to have represented his country.
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