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Hashim Amla: The rock who held the Kings XI Punjab together

Amla was excellent for Punjab in the 10 matches that he played in.

Feature 19 May 2017, 20:05 IST
Amla was Punjab’s best batsman

When T20 cricket first came into the picture in the early-2000s, it was portrayed to be this format, which would not be suited to those who have a classical style of game.

Cricketing shots, played with the grace and poise in Tests and 50-over cricket, did not seem to have a place in T20 cricket, where it was assumed that power and strength were the essential elements.

Almost 13 years since the first T20I was played between Australia and New Zealand in Eden Park, how things have changed.

Modern T20 cricket is anything but slam-bang cricket. The ability to play orthodox cricket shots, build an innings, play the sheet anchor's role etc have gained as much importance over the years as hitting the ball 100m over the fence.

A lot of cricketers have found the conventional method beneficial in their quest to get some runs and one of them in South Africa's Hashim Amla.

The Protean right-hander began his career in 2004 and for the longest time was labelled as a one format player, to the extent even his 50-over cricketing prowess was under question.

However, over the years, he has proved his critics wrong and how. Using an orthodox method, involving a good backfoot game, Amla found ways to get runs and also maintain a more-than- acceptable tempo to ensure his team did not fall too back in the contest.

Despite those efforts, however, Amla never found a buyer in the IPL auctions for several years. Year after year, he would find his name in the auction, only for buyers to ignore him every time.

Until last year, when the Kings XI Punjab roped in him as a replacement in the last end of the competition. With an almost full season up his sleeve this year, he was ready.

In 10 matches, Amla mustered 420 runs at a very acceptable strike-rate of 145 and the critical thing was he made two centuries in those games.What it meant was not only could players with orthodox shots get the runs, they could get them big. 

Sadly, for Amla, his contributions could not lead his side to wins in both games, but from a personal perspective, the exploits would have given him a lot of confidence.

If given the chance to retain a minimum number of players, surely the Virender Sehwag mentored franchise would pick Amla as one of the players that they would like to build the side around next year.

At the top of the order, he is sure to provide the side with good starts and as able an international batsman as he is, it would help to have a player who is good at playing pace and spin bowling.

Season 10 of IPL would have surely given him the confidence of that happening.

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