Amla: SA’s king of calm

THE IM­PACT AMLA HAS ON THE GUYS IS IM­MENSE Opener says se­ries white­wash is No 1 on the Proteas’ minds.

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Heinz Schenk

PAGE 32

The Proteas make no se­cret of the fact that they want to white­wash Sri Lanka in their cur­rent Test se­ries. But should they be­come too over-ea­ger to do that in the third Test at the Wan­der­ers start­ing to­mor­row, Hashim Amla will – as al­ways – be the voice of rea­son in the squad.

South Africa’s bearded stal­wart will be­come the eighth lo­cal player to play his 100th Test and it’s un­likely he won’t be eerily calm again.

“He has a won­der­ful sense of calm,” said Proteas opener Stephen Cook, who was a team-mate of Amla’s at na­tional Un­der-19 level, yes­ter­day.

“When a sit­u­a­tion be­comes tricky or some of the play­ers be­come a bit hot­headed, Hashim will be the guy who’ll bring bal­ance back. The great thing about him is that his way of do­ing things gives his team-mates con­fi­dence.”

Amla ac­tu­ally goes into this mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion un­der pres­sure, hav­ing not scored a Test half-cen­tury in his last 10 in­nings.

How­ever, Cook be­lieves the vet­eran, who’s scored 7 665 runs at a su­perb av­er­age of 49.45, doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to make moun­tains of runs to make a con­tri­bu­tion.

“Hashim played a vi­tal role in the Test se­ries win over Aus­tralia (late last year),” he said.

“He didn’t score many runs but the im­pact he had on the guys next to him was im­mense.

“He shared his knowl­edge of the Aussie pitches and gave ad­vice on how to deal with their play­ers. Hashim con­tributes so much, he starts with 30 runs be­fore he even comes in to bat!”

More im­por­tantly, Amla’s time to shine at the Bull­ring needs to be a cel­e­bra­tion of his hu­man­ity.

“He’s a fan­tas­tic per­son. You can look up the stats and read all the records but that only tells half of the tale,” said Cook.

“The per­son be­hind the bats­man is more im­por­tant to me. I was taught you’re a hu­man be­ing first and then a crick­eter. Hashim epit­o­mises that.”

The Proteas though won’t al­low the sen­ti­ment be­hind Amla’s mile­stone to dis­tract them from their main ob­jec­tive – an­other vic­tory.

“We spoke about that in our team meet­ing. We have to re­alise the im­por­tance of be­ing 2-0 up in the se­ries and com­plet­ing the job,” said Cook.

“We wanted to do that in Aus­tralia and failed. A white­wash is first and fore­most on our minds.”

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

IN AWE. Proteas opener Stephen Cook be­lieves team-mate Hashim Amla’s con­tri­bu­tion to the side goes be­yond the mas­sive amount of runs he has scored.

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