Hashim Amla might be the last South African cricketer to play 100 Tests, claims Faf du Plessis
The South African captain makes a startling claim ahead of Amla's 100th Test match in Johannesburg.
What’s the story?
South African skipper Faf du Plessis has made a rather startling claim on the eve of Hashim Amla’s impending 100th Test match. The 32-year old evoked a pertinent question regarding the future of Test cricket in the ‘Rainbow Nation’ whilst remarking that Amla could be the last of those South African cricketers to reach the major milestone.
“I am going to make a big call and say Hash (Amla) is probably going to be the last guy that plays 100 Tests for South Africa because of the way that the game is changing. Quinnie (Quinton de Kock) and KG (Kagiso Rabada) are possibly looking at that as youngsters but it's a long way into the future,” du Plessis said.
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The third Test against Sri Lanka begins tomorrow, and Amla will become the 8th South African player and 66th overall to complete 100 Test matches. He has scored 7665 runs until now at an average of 49.45 with 25 centuries and 31 fifties.
The heart of the matter
South Africa played 9 Test matches last year and registered a remarkable series victory in Australia. Although the likes of Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw and David Wiese have all shifted base to the United Kingdom, the team’s overall future appears to be reasonably strong with the presence of exciting youngsters like de Kock and Rabada adding teeth to the set-up.
Faf du Plessis pointed to the increasingly packed modern-day cricket calendar while making his case. Since the emergence of T20s and its slew of tournaments, the scheduling has gone up a few notches.
The right-hander felt that players like Amla, AB de Villiers, former players Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis had long careers because they played in a period when there was a lot of Test cricket being played. He also said that Amla’s achievement was a special one and that most future and current South African players will find it incredibly tough to achieve it.
Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series, South Africa will be eager to inflict a whitewash on Sri Lanka on a seam-friendly surface in Johannesburg. As for Amla, the occasion presents a perfect opportunity to come out from his slump in form.
The 33-year old has only scored 307 runs from his previous 7 matches at a below par average of 25.58.
Although stadium attendance in Test cricket has been dwindling recently, the format is still considered as the pinnacle of the game. Even though du Plessis’ opinion could hold some weight, it does not seem to be convincing as the likes of de Kock and Rabada have a long career ahead of them.
The lower-ranked nations may be struggling to schedule as many matches, but a prominent team like South Africa should continue to play innumerable Tests.