South African star batsman Hashim Amla on Thursday (August 8) announced retirement from international cricket. This came a month after the Proteas’ dismal performance in the recently concluded World Cup.
Amla was undoubtedly one of South Africa’s best players. He made his debut Test against India in 2004. However, the first two years of his career saw him play only three Tests.
Four years later, Amla made his debut in ODI cricket. He achieved a commendable feat of becoming the fastest batsman to reach 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 ODI runs.
His phenomenal batting drew comparisons with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, and Brian Lara. The right-hander soon became the backbone of the batting line-up and the go-to player for South Africa. Opponents dreaded his stay for a long time at the crease.
Amla was fasting when he played his career-best Test knock of unbeaten 311 against England.
Here’s a statistical analysis of his Test career:
In his first Test, Amla played the Indian spinners like a pro on his way to 24. However, Irfan Pathan ended up rattling Amla’s off-stump with an out-swinger.
In 2006, Amla scored 149 in an innings against New Zealand. This was a career-defining moment for the youngster, post that he became a regular member of the South African squad.
From the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2014, Amla aggregated 5614 runs at an average of 66.04.
These were the golden years of Amla’s Test career. But after that, in 2015, he found himself running out of form. He averaged just 22.82 in 2015, not being able to score a single century.
After two decent years in Test cricket, Amla was on the back foot again. He appeared in 10 Tests in 2018 and managed only 510 runs at an average of 26.84.
Overall, Hashim Amla scored 9282 runs at an average of 46.64 in Tests. He is the only South African batsman to notch up a triple ton in Test cricket.
Amla proved to be super successful in ODIs as well as being a Test-specialist.
Here’s a statistical analysis of his ODI career:
Most experts felt that Amla would not be suitable for limited-overs cricket because of his strike-rate. However, in the very first year of his ODI career, he silenced them by scoring 140 off 135 balls with eight fours and four sixes against Bangladesh. And then, there was no looking back.
From 2008 to 2014, Amla scored 4578 runs at an average of 53.23. At this time, he was also enjoying his best phase in Tests.
In 2015, Amla’s poor form in Test cricket did not affect his purple patch in ODIs. He went on to score 1062 runs at an average of over 50.
In 2019, Amla managed to score 417 runs at an average of 46.33. But his strike-rate of 74.46, also his lowest, became a cause of worry for the Proteas.
Finally, Amla ended up his ODI career with 8113 runs at an average of 49.47 and a strike rate of 88.4.
The cricketing journey of Hashim was indeed a roller-coaster ride. But he will always be known as a batsman with superior technique who played umpteen match-winning knocks under pressure.
Amla was surely one of the finest cricketers South Africa has ever produced.