Cape Town – Neil McKenzie has nailed his
colours firmly to the mast over Proteas captain Hashim Amla’s batting prospects
in the looming four-Test series against England.
“AB (de Villiers) has been by far South
Africa’s best batsman against India,” said McKenzie, a guest in the SuperSport
studio as their pundits on Monday summarised the 3-0 defeat there for the
world’s still No 1-ranked team.
“But as far as Hashim Amla is concerned,
I’d like to say right now: I feel sorry for England. Someone is going to catch
Lions veteran McKenzie, once a Test
team-mate of Amla’s, was speaking in the wake of the skipper ending the series
with a marathon 244-ball vigil for 25 in the Proteas’ second innings before
they succumbed by 337 runs in the fourth and final encounter in Delhi.
The bearded right-hander unusually failed
to register even a single half-century in seven innings against the Indians
after some superlative prior performances in that country, but at least showed
a return to crease-occupying stubbornness in both Delhi and the second knock of
the Nagpur Test, where he had compiled 39 off 167 deliveries.
Co-pundit Kepler Wessels concurred – in a
slightly more measured way -- that England might be on the receiving end of a
backlash from Amla, who still averages a touch above 50 (50.64) after 88 Tests.
“If he gets past 20 or 30 against the
English on our (surfaces) ... yes, it will be payback time,” Wessels said.
Amla has scored 1,104 runs in a total of 13
Tests against England, at an average of 52.57.
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