DURBAN – Virender Sehwag has lauded Hashim Amla for his consistency and professionalism during the recent Indian Premier League and that the remainder of his team’s foreign contingent “have a lot to learn from” the Proteas superstar.
Sehwag, the Kings XI Punjab Director of Cricket, was speaking after his franchise bowed out of the IPL in embarrassing fashion on Sunday. With Amla back in South Africa to attend the annual CSA Awards and launch South Africa’s first cricket simulator as part of the “Hashim Amla Foundation” project in Durban this week, the Kings XI slumped to 73 – their lowest score in IPL history.
The former India batting star was particularly critical of his four overseas players – New Zealand’s Martin Guptill, England ODI and T20 captain Eoin Morgan and especially Australian duo Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell – claiming “that none of the foreign players took responsibility”.
This was in complete contrast to Sehwag’s praise for Amla, who struck two centuries before returning home from the IPL.
"We missed Hashim Amla, for sure," the India batting legend of 104 Tests and 251 ODI’s told Cricinfo. "The kind of consistency he showed, none of the other players could do that, an individual couldn't take responsibility. Saha played one [good] innings, Manan Vohra played one innings but apart from that none of the others played responsibly.”
Unlike Maxwell, who Sehwag singled out as being “a big disappointment” and not taking “the responsibility as a captain”, the Indian legend only continued his high praise for Amla in the way he adapted to conditions and structured his innings.
"He [Amla] is an experienced player and has played more than 100 Test matches and averages close to 50 in Test cricket and also one-day cricket. He knows how to score runs immaterial of the format. And he takes very few risks,” Sehwag said.
“Whatever risks he takes, it is always after 12 or 15 overs, when he knows that he has completed his role and there's a need to score quick runs. Otherwise, for the first 10 overs he takes less risks and remains on 30-40 and converts them into big scores. The two hundreds that he scored were brilliant. The other players in the team have a lot to learn from Hashim Amla, be it international players or Indian."
Amla finished his second season of IPL cricket as the franchise’s leading run-scorer with 420 runs at average of 60 with the hugely impressive strike-rate of 145.83.
This bodes well for the Proteas’ fortunes in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England next month where Amla will no doubt be one of the chief components of the Proteas ODI team looking to end their international tournament trophy drought.