Hashim Amla: An underrated stalwart calls time
This year seems to be one full of retirements, doesn't it! While many cricketers from different countries have retired, South Africa seems to have borne the biggest losses. From JP Duminy and Imran Tahir to the more recent Hashim Amla, the South African cricket team bid adieu to some of the best to ever don the green and gold. As Amla drew curtains on his international career, we look back at things that set this gentleman apart from the rest.
Debut and criticism
Having made his debut as a 21-year-old back in 2004, Amla became the first South African of Indian descent to represent the rainbow nation. Initially criticized for his technique or rather the lack of it, Hashim Amla decided to stick it out and show that he belonged on the biggest stage. As he kept on grinding, the performances began to flow and he started scoring runs for fun across formats.
Elegant at the crease and blessed with flawless cover-drives and flicks to go with one of the most absurd throwing techniques, it was his temperament that set “Hash” apart from the rest. Facing every challenge on hand with an infectious smile, Amla managed to prove his doubters wrong by performing across all the countries and scoring match-winning knocks for 15 years.
Adapting to ODI format
Having been painstakingly labelled as a Test specialist, Hashim Amla not only showed that he could adapt to the white ball format but went on to dominate ODI cricket for quite a few years. While Virat Kohli was smashing run-scoring records, Amla in his ever so composed manner went on to break the standards that Kohli set. A testament to this is the fact that he became the fastest batsman to reach 10, 15 and 27 centuries respectively. If there was a batsman who could say 'I let my bat do the talking', it was this humble giant of the sport.
Amla also captained the Test side from 2014 to 2016 and remains the only South African batsman to score a triple century in Test cricket. He heads into retirement having accumulated 18,672 runs and 52 centuries across the three formats.
More than his runs though, he leaves behind a legacy that will always be looked upon with fondness by fans and pundits alike. Something that resonates with Amla’s career is NBA legend Larry Bird often used to quote,
“Leave this game better than you found it.”
Hashim Amla might never be the first name on everybody’s lips when they discuss South African greats, but he will be among the top ones for time immemorial. A true servant of the game and one of the most underrated greats this wonderful sport has seen.
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