SA in West Indies

Hashim: Unstoppable force

2010-05-25 13:52
Hashim Amla (Gallo)
Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Hashim Amla just keeps setting the bar higher and higher for himself and then vaulting it, as it were, with astonishing ease.

The 27-year-old Proteas top-order batsman is quite simply in the form of his life. Tests, one-day internationals, the County Championship … it seems he can do no wrong in any of cricket’s various arenas at present.

On Monday the unassuming KwaZulu-Natalian gobbled a second consecutive player-of-the-match award as South Africa won the second ODI against West Indies at North Sound to go 2-0 up in the five-match series.

His typically meticulous, level-headed and well-crafted innings of 92 helped lay the foundations for the Proteas’ charge to 300, which proved enough despite a rare display of late fireworks by Darren Sammy, who registered the fastest ODI half-century by a West Indian.

It was a follow-up to his 102 at the same venue – one which certainly requires batsmen to have their wits about them – on Saturday, when AB de Villiers also went to three figures.

Amla has certainly provided the sort of positive, freshening presence South Africa needed after the disappointment of the ICC World Twenty20 -- and the last few months have been nothing short of sensational for him personally.

The holder now of 26 ODI caps, he is rapidly confirming himself as a frontline selection for the World Cup on the Subcontinent next year, utterly allaying earlier fears that he and Jacques Kallis, South Africa’s Test batting barnacles at No 3 and 4 respectively, are not compatible in the same limited-overs combo.

In the 50-overs arena, you cannot quibble at all with his recent form or attacking intent: five half-centuries and a century in his last nine ODIs, at an average of 65.

His overall average in ODIs is currently 52.86 and his strike rate (85.83) stands up well to more established Proteas players in that environment: Graeme Smith’s is lower at 83.05 while Amla is not even far off the often swashbuckling AB de Villiers (89.49).

These are his last four ODI innings for South Africa, from the most recent, and with strike rates in brackets: 92 (96.84) and 102 (93.57) versus West Indies at North Sound, 87 (84.46) versus India at Ahmedabad and 34 (154.54) against the same foes at Gwalior.

An interesting aspect of Amla’s ODI career is that he has only ever hit five sixes, and four of them came when he pounded minnows Bangladesh for his personal best score of 140 at Benoni in November 2008.

Clearly he is doing more than enough “on the deck” to keep the scoreboard ticking nicely, where his wristy skills are perennially handy in upsetting field placings, while he is resorting far more often and more confidently to the pull and hook (once virtually alien to his game-plan) to increase his repertoire further these days.

In Test cricket, of course, Amla has had a truly juggernaut spell, boasting scores of 114 and 123 not out (Kolkata) and 253 not out (Nagpur) against India, 75 against England (Johannesburg) and 14 and 95 against those opponents in Cape Town – for an average of 168 in that time.

Oh yes, and he warmed up for his West Indies trip with 377 runs at 75.4 for Nottinghamshire in four productive appearances in the County Championship.

Amla seems increasingly to confirm some experts’ staunch belief that you cannot afford to overlook a quality cricketer, regardless of the format of the game … so even a return to the T20 international landscape cannot be ruled out down the line for the only twice-capped player there.

You wouldn’t bet against Amla continuing to make hay while the legendary Caribbean sun shines, would you?

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
75 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

 
 

Men24.com

Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

The main reason for the current state of shambles that exists in the Proteas' set-up is:

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.