Johannesburg – Hashim Amla does not think that he will be the last South African to play in 100 Test matches.
Amla became the eighth South African to reach that milestone on Thursday when his 125* set the Proteas up perfectly on day one of the third Test against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg.
He joins Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Gary Kirsten, Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock in the South African ‘100 club’.
Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, somewhat surprisingly made what he referred to as a “big call” in the build-up to this Test when he predicted that Amla would be the last South African to get to three figures.
He cited intense schedules and shorter playing careers as his reasons, but speaking to media at the Wanderers after the first day’s play, Amla disagreed with his skipper.
“Whoever wants to play Test cricket and they’re good enough, they’ll get to 100 Test matches,” Amla said.
“You just have to have a desire to play Test cricket and to play for the Proteas, which is an absolute honour.
“Faf has made that call, I think, because of scheduling and if guys are involved in other tournaments around the world … fatigue etc. … but Test cricket for me has always been the pinnacle.
“So if somebody else has that type of vision there is no doubt that there will be some youngster in our team who is going to get there.”
Dale Steyn currently has 85 Tests to his name but is only expected back in July following shoulder surgery.
The most realistic young prospects in the current group when it comes to potentially reaching 100 Tests are surely 21-year-old Kagiso Rabada (13 Tests) and 24-year-old Quinton de Kock (15 Tests).