Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
BRIAN Lara, Matthew Hayden, Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Don Bradman and Sir Len Hutton. These are all greats of the great game called Test cricket. After two days of majestic batting against England at The Oval, Hashim Mahomed Amla can now sit comfortably among these legends.
Amla stroked a glorious 311 not out, which places him officially 15th on the list of all-time highest Test scores and would surely have moved further up the list had Proteas captain Graeme Smith not rightly declared South Africa’s innings closed on 637/2.
The elegant strokeplayer, with the trademark wristy shots, has moved to the very top of SA’s own list. He has overtaken the celebrated Graeme Pollock (274), his coach, Gary Kirsten, and Darryl Cullinan (275), his Test captain, Smith (277), and his limited-overs skipper, AB de Villiers (278), and in the process has become the first South African to achieve the distinction of a triple century.
It is a phenomenal achievement by Amla, whose ability and technique were routinely questioned by cricket pundits when the first South African of Indian descent – his grandparents migrated from Gujarat – originally donned a Proteas shirt back in 2004.
But Amla had learnt his trade in the cricket-rich environment of Durban High School, the alma mater of that other great SA batsman Barry Richards, and had led South Africa’s under-19 and his provincial team, the Dolphins, before his elevation to the highest level.
And after a brief period out of test cricket, Amla returned with the determination to prove that he belonged at the highest level.
Few things faze Amla and a cricket ball is not among them. He is a devout Muslim who has steadfastly refused to wear the logos of the Proteas team sponsor which promotes alcohol, and has risen above comments from former Australian Test player-turned commentor, Dean Jones who once labelled him a “terrorist” due to his trademark lengthy beard.
Amla, a humble, modest man, is already ranked No 1 in the world in One-Day cricket.
And as this historic innings showed so sublimely, he could turn out to be South Africa’s finest player yet.