‘Hashim Hashim… Hashim Hashim… Hashim Hashim Amla’ as a group of Capetonian fans chanted his name in the 2016 England series, this guy stood his own by scoring a mighty double hundred. The first and only Protea to also register a triple also against the same opposition.
Yes, that is Hashim Amla for you, a reservoir of technique, class, grit, and determination to bank on. Perhaps, it could be said, at his peak, Amla was more dependable than the current state of all of the South African banks in its dwindling economy.
Making his debut at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on 28 November 2004, he initially made a slow start to his career, finding his technique circumspect and somewhat criticized after scoring just 36 runs in the 2004 series against England.
After honing his technique and working on his skills with the Dolphins, for whom he regularly top-scored in the South African domestic circuit, he proved his critics wrong in 2006 as he scored a comeback 149 against New Zealand at Newlands, Cape Town, guiding South Africa to a match-saving draw. He subsequently continued this success, earning a national contract and scoring 1599 runs at an average of 57.10 in his next 19 Tests, solidifying his position as South Africa’s regular number 3 batsman.
On 27 March 2008, he scored an unbeaten 159 against India in Chennai amidst searing conditions. His success throughout the 2008 year, in which he scored 1012 runs, consisted of numerous centuries and solid performances against India, England, and Australia.
During South Africa’s 2009 tour of Australia, Hashim Amla helped South Africa win a historic Test and capture an ODI series victory over Australia, scoring 259 runs at an average of 51.80 in the Tests and contributing crucial scores in the one-day series, including a match-winning 80 in the series clincher.
Coming to the ODI format, the mighty Hash holds the record for being the fastest to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 runs and to 10 centuries which is no mean feat. At a time his copybook technique had carved him into the mold of a classical Test batsman, his voracious appetite to score in limited-overs cricket painted a broader image for the gentle giant of South Africa.
His opening partnership with Smith and Quinton has been one of the most aggressive and feared in the ODI format. It, in some ways, leaves a yardstick of excellence for the likes of Aiden Markram to follow.
Not someone to whom aggressive stroke play came naturally, Hashim Amla honed his skills in this department to become one of the best if not the best in the world.
It could be said among the priceless virtues that Hash embodied was the ability to remain humble and simple despite gathering around him a cesspool of runs. Do the math and feel the aura, for there are over 18,000 of them.
He was a proud member of the Protean golden generation of cricketers, who were the table-toppers in ODI and Test cricket in the last decade.
There is so much Hashim Amla has achieved and his modesty and humility make it even more special, reminding me of an Indian with such traits, the forever dependable jammy Rahul Dravid.
These guys quietly go about their business to become great cricketers and even greater souls to inspire millions. Play your game, be honest to yourself and the rest will happen is their mantra.
Now as the mighty Hash has decided to walk into the sunset, there is just one thing he said ‘we succeeded together’ to every South African fan, that’s the greatness and humility of this man.
More like him to come, well the Proteas definitely hope so.