Baby foils Amla’s Essex plan
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Hashim Amla (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The expected arrival of his first child has thwarted the likelihood of leading Proteas batsman Hashim Amla having another stint in county cricket with Essex next year.Sign up for Sport24 promo mailers and win WIN with Nike Vision
The Chelmsford-based side were keen to acquire his services after his hugely successful short stint with them two seasons ago, when the Dolphins top-order ace averaged 103 in a handful of County Championship appearances.
But the local Essex Chronicle newspaper has reported that Amla, 28, has decided to stay at home because his wife is due to have a baby.
Coach Paul Grayson was quoted as saying: “It’s disappointing but I fully understand his reasons for not coming.
“He did very well for us when he came over in 2009 and was a popular figure both in the dressing room and among supporters.”
Essex fans nicknamed him “WG”, after the legendary, similarly heavy-bearded father figure of modern cricket WG Grace.
An early-season spell with Essex in 2012 might have been useful to both Amla and South Africa for tune-up purposes, as the Proteas tour England later in the northern hemisphere summer, including three Test matches.
But he is also no stranger to the different demands of English batting conditions after his prior stint at Chelmsford and also experience of the last Proteas tour in 2008, when he scored a century at Lord’s in a match-saving South African second-knock fightback to have his name carved on the hallowed honours board there.