Updated: Aug 20, 2019
It was pretty frosty weather in the capital of India. A near-to-peak winter season, one must say. And two of India’s most threatening spinning duo were taking on two of the South African greats at Feroz Shah Kotla. One was known for his aggressive instincts and the other for his calmness. Chasing 481 with one and a half day's play remaining, thought of a win was ridiculous as the pitch was turning square.
So, the South African captain Hashim Amla made up his mind. Steady as a rock, he kept on blocking whatever came in the draw's way. He carried on with the same enthusiasm for over the next 6 hours of play. Opposition tried and tested all the tricks up their sleeves yet, nothing could flinch De Villiers and the talismanic Amla. Unfortunately, South Africa lost that test in the last hour of play but, it was last time Indians got to witness the legends of Amla.
A career laced with silken strokes a la an artist's brushes on the canvas
One of the most extraordinary, classy, elegant and versatile cricketers of all time who donned the South African colours with pride just hung his boots from international cricket. To say the least, Amla has had an illustrious career across formats that his country would be proud of. Amla scored 9000 plus runs in Tests at an astonishing average of 46.64 and over 8000 runs in ODIs at a splendid average of 49.46. He ended up just behind his fellow teammate AB De Villiers in terms of average after scoring 8000 runs in ODI.
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The Quality of Being Hashim Amla
Calmest personality on the field, Amla wasn't an instant success but soon came out of the shadows of the great South African cricketers like Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs. Being wristy has been his biggest gift and, he used it very wisely on the fast South African pitches. In retrospect, South Arica never witnessed an Asian player with so much class, consistency in scoring and someone who commanded his place in the team as Amla did.
Moving across the stumps, shifting the right amount of weight to meet the ball to perfection and a flick to the on-side even when the ball is dancing is a rare quality. Only a master can do that. He did it wonderfully. Not to forget his solidly punched cover drives, deftly played square cut and exploits in the early overs which was a work of a pure craftsman.
Humility is a rare commodity and Amla wears it beautifully. He believes fasting during Ramadan has helped his game improve. Remember, he was fasting when he notched up a solitary triple century (311*) against England in a Test match at The Oval for South Africa.
Hashim Amla's Career in Numbers and Records
ICC quoted him as "A true legend and a great human being". He is indeed both. His numbers are spectacular, which proves his contribution to the game was immense.
1) Amla is the only South African player who notched up more than 25 centuries in ODIs as well as Tests. 28 in Tests and 27 in ODIs.
2) Only South African player to score a triple century in Tests - 311* against England at Oval.
3) The special achievement of Amla - He remains the fastest player in ODIs in terms of the number of innings - to score 1000-run landmark and also the landmarks from 2000 upto 7000.
4) Amla is undoubtedly South Africa's best number 3 batsman in Tests. His numbers are just below Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakara and Ricky Ponting.
5) In ODIs, Amla is South Africa's most successful opener in terms of average and runs. He accumulated over 8000 runs in his career as an opener.
The list of his records is unending as it just goes on and on. A player of his calibre who gave so much to the game of cricket and its followers to remember shall be given an elite place in the dictionary of cricket.