The mighty Hash - what a player
It was a marvellous sight at The Oval in London when all the spectators were upstanding and applauding South Africa’s first and only triple centurion in test match cricket, Hashim Amla. Team sports provide a situation where mates can celebrate one another’s success, and the smiles on the faces of the South African team as they stood on the changeroom balcony were even greater to see, as Amla had gone past a couple of those cheering to end up top of the South Africa tree for most runs scored in a test innings.
Many who know him quite well say it could not have happened to a better guy, and having heard his interviews after the fantastic achievement, I agree. Hashim tried mightily hard to deflect all the attention from himself onto Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and the rest of the team. The humility of the man is surely to be admired.
The man’s mental strength must be something to behold if one considers that right at the start of his career he was berated by just about all and sundry and basically considered as one not fitting to be in the South Africa side. These days he is described as a genius and is among the first few names onto the team sheet when South Africa selects a side.
After his first 10 test matches, it looked as if he was headed to being an also-ran, with just 445 runs at an average of 23.95, a highest score of 149 as his only century to go with two fifties in 19 innings. Looking at his last 10 tests: 939 runs at 67 per innings, with the new South African record of 311 not out as a highest score to go with two other centuries and five fifties in 16 innings.
It is no wonder that he is now lauded and called “The Mighty Hash”. He has pulled that lowly average of when he begun right up to amongst the best in the game. Overall he has 4775 runs in 60 tests at an average of 50.26 with 23 fifties and 15 centuries. Remarkable!
I salute the man, as he provides so many around the world, South African or not, with fantastic viewing pleasure from the way that he goes about his business when at the batting crease. How one can churn out as many runs as he now does for the Proteas, really is phenomenal. One must also say that those who decided to give him a chance and stick with him, while many said in their “expert” opinions that he would not make the grade, did us all a big favour. The world of cricket would be poorer for having no Hashim Amla gracing batting creases.
His and Jacques Kallis’s (though Kallis did not have many, if any, doubters) ascent to being alongside the best batsmen in the game is a reminder of how important the selection process is, and also that it is imperative, having identified talent, to afford that talent a fair opportunity. In the case of Kallis, he already is a great; when it comes to Hashim, I’m predicting things to come (I hope not to put the proverbial commentator’s curse on him).
Long may the runs flow off the bat of Hashim Amla as he still has a long way to go in his career. He loves to bat and does it very well. Congratulations too for attaining the South African highest test innings record of 311 not out. He deserves it. The victory over England for the first time ever at The Oval was the cherry on top.
We must salute The Mighty Hash. What a player, what a man!