Amla’s Bullring snub baffles critics

2016-10-02 12:37
Hashim Amla (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – South Africa took the principle of “don’t tamper with a winning team” to new levels of devotion at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Tongues were set wagging at the toss for the second one-day international against Australia when captain Faf du Plessis revealed that master batsman Hashim Amla – who missed the opening victory at SuperSport Park on Friday through illness – was restored to fitness, and simply not chosen.

The bearded accumulator extraordinaire (current world ranking third among ODI batsmen, career runs 6,445 at 51.97) was quickly seen in the dugout wearing a substitute’s bib, looking a picture of health and chatting to team-mates after the Proteas lost the toss and were inserted.

Amla also has a superlative record at the famous Johannesburg venue: five innings in the format, 344 runs at 86.00 including two centuries.

The move stunned renowned television critics.

“You can’t tell me Hashim Amla isn’t better than some of the guys in the top six,” said former SA captain Kepler Wessels.

“Especially in the absence of AB de Villiers, surely you need him. I’m astonished.”

Meanwhile visiting commentator and former Australia skipper Allan Border, seeing a humorous side in the fierce bilateral rivalry, added: “I think South Africa should leave him out indefinitely.”

Although the rejigged opening combination of Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw excelled in Friday’s comfortable win, blasting 145 runs in only some 18 overs, common sense suggested that a fit-again Amla would return at the top of the order with Rossouw operating elsewhere amongst the top four – a status he is both suited to and proven enough at.

As Wessels pointed out, Amla is statistically light years superior to several incumbents of specialist batting berths in the South African ODI order – some of whom aren’t even compellingly assured of their slots at national level.

The latter category certainly includes JP Duminy, David Miller and Farhaan Behardien, scheduled occupants of positions four, five and six respectively on the renowned Wanderers limited-overs “belter”.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  hashim amla  |  cricket

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