As I begin writing this post Hashim Amla has just gone to his century in the warm up match against Middlesex. That’s two centuries in two innings after his 172 earlier this week. The ideal build up for next weeks opening Test against England for the number 3 batsman.
Hashim made his South African debut against India in India an the eve of South Africa’s last series against England. That series, in South Africa, was also the series that he lost his place in the side, and South Africa’s only series defeat against England since readmission.
Amla was found wanting by the aggressive short pitched bowling of the England attack, and his technique was ruthlessly exposed. In 4 innings against England Amla managed a mere 36 runs. Hardly a successful start to his Test career.
The Hashim Amla England saw then is far from the Amla who has established himself as South Africa’s number 3 batsman since then. Perhaps he was rushed onto the international arena, following prolific domestic performances for the Kwazulu-Natal Dolphins, but there has never been any doubt about the promise and talent of the wristy and elegant batsman.
Since regaining his place in the South African squad, with a maiden century, 149, against New Zealand, Amla has steadily been gaining in confidence and has worked his technique to fit the testing rigours of international cricket. He followed up his century against New Zealand with 2 more against the Kiwi’s the next time they were in South Africa, with a the highlight being a Test best of 176 not out. While he managed to keep his place in the team by doing a little bit more than enough it was against India this year, in India, where he truly established his position in the team with 307 runs in 3 Tests, including a superb 159 in Chennai.
In the last year Amla has featured in 3 partnerships of over 200 with Jacques Kallis, including one of over 300. His powers of concentration and belief in himself and allowed him to over come the difficult start to his career and line him up as one of the Test stars of the future.
Amla’s Test career will come full circle on this tour of England and he will look to leave a far different impression on the English than he did last time round. The player who seems most likely to inherit the role of Kallis, the batsman who has an innings built around him, Amla could be one of the stars of this series. If his pre tour form is anything to go by this could very well be Hashim Amla’s series.