The stats that give ailing Amla hope

2018-12-20 11:47
Hashim Amla (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Mired in perhaps the worst form-related crisis of his otherwise glittering batting career, there seems little reason at first thought to expect Proteas veteran Hashim Amla to light up the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at SuperSport Park.

His troubles of the last year or more - but especially more recently - have already been well documented, and the 35-year-old's quest to find his touch in time for the first of three clashes with the Pakistanis was hardly helped on Wednesday when he got a rare golden duck for the Cape Cobras on day one of their 4-Day Franchise Series match against the Warriors in Port Elizabeth.

Over the course of his prior 10 innings - admittedly all in his least suitable format of T20 for either the Durban Heat (MSL) or Barbados Tridents (Caribbean Premier League) - Amla sports an unremarkable top score of 35 and five of the single-figure variety.

This would have been almost unheard of in his extended heyday.

So unless he comes good in the Cobras' second knock at St George's Park, the traditional kingpin of the Proteas' Test batting will enter Boxing Day, for his first Test appearance since July, severely short of "middle" time and relying mostly on his rich experience, instincts and scrapping qualities to prosper once more at a convenient bend in the road.

But there is one statistic to reassure both the player himself and his legion of long-time admirers: a fabulous personal Test record at the spectator-friendly Centurion venue.

In short, Amla has come off in at least one innings in almost all of the dozen Tests he has played so far at SuperSport Park.

Although his career Test average has dipped to 47.23 after once being well embedded in the fifties, SuperSport Park has almost unfailingly been a very happy hunting ground for the player, as he boasts an average of 75.58 (1 285 runs) at the venue.

Much used to be made of former Test colleague Jacques Kallis' love affair with his home ground of Newlands when it came to Test matches: he averaged 72.70 there, against a career record of 55.37.

So Amla, historically, experiences even greater prosperity at Centurion than Kallis did in Cape Town, including five centuries there (one of the double variety).

Certainly his SuperSport Park record stands high and mighty when weighed against his figures at the other major Test grounds in South Africa: he averages 51.60 at the other Highveld hotbed of the Wanderers, 43.53 at Newlands, 40.33 at St George's Park and 18.89 at Kingsmead.

It is further comfort for Amla, then, that all three Pakistan Tests happen to be at his three best SA grounds statistically.

Here is the complete list of his Test knocks at SuperSport Park, from most recent:

82 & 1 v India, 2018

58 & 1 v New Zealand, 2016

109 & 96 v England, 2016

208 v West Indies, 2014

17 & 35 v Australia, 2014

92 v Pakistan, 2013

18 v Sri Lanka, 2011

140 v India, 2010

19 & 100 v England, 2009

71 v Bangladesh, 2008

103 v New Zealand, 2007

71 & 64no v Pakistan, 2007

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  hashim amla  |  cricket


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