CAPE TOWN – Proteas star Hashim Amla was honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga for his contribution to South African sport on Tuesday.
The prize is a major national award, issued by the President of South Africa for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sports.
Amla, who has captained the Proteas in all three formats and scored close to 18 000 international runs, was named as a silver award recipient by the Chancellor of National Orders, Dr Cassius Lubisi.
“He has brought pride to our country with his many batting firsts in the international cricket arena and remains one of the leading batsmen of our time,” said Lubisi.
Amla is the first Proteas batsman to win the award after former Proteas fast bowlers Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini were both honoured in 2008.
Amla is, of course, the only South African batsman to score a triple century, thereby holding the record for the highest score by a South African batsman.
“Grateful to the Most High for the accolade. Also blessed to have my parents, family, friends and teachers along the way to help me navigate through life and sport,” Amla posted on social media on Tuesday.
The Chancellor of the National Orders and Director General in the Presidency Dr Cassius Lubisi announces the 2018 National Orders pic.twitter.com/mXI9Mg0BRi
The 35-year-old is currently playing for Hampshire on the English County Championship circuit, having scored a half-century over the weekend against Surrey at The Oval – the same venue where he struck his record 311 not out in 2012.
Former England all-rounder Basil D’Oliveira, who left South Africa during Apartheid to pursue a career overseas and was instrumental in his birth land being isolated from international sports, received the inaugural award in 2003.
Eric Majola and Goolam Abed, who were selected for both cricket and rugby for non-racial South African teams during the Apartheid era, were also recognised in the same year, while in 2004, the legendary Sacos cricket administrator Hassan Howa, was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga.