The Star Late Edition
Call back the Mighty#
TIMING is everything in life and in cricket and while the heavens may not be aligned right now with Hashim Amla still scoring double centuries in the English County Championship and preparing to turn out for Western Province in the new domestic structure next season, I can't help but feel the Mighty# may just be the man to fix the Proteas' batting woes.
There is no hiding from the fact that South Africa's batting has been on a downward spiral, particularly in Test cricket, for a number of years now.
Current Proteas coach Mark Boucher raved about Jacques Kallis' contribution to the national team during his short stint as the batting consultant and there was almost a national outcry when Kallis recently joined the England set up.
I have no doubt Kallis' experiences would have been invaluable, but at the same time I believe Amla's intellectual capital could be of similar currency if not more.
Recently, I came across an article where Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal glowingly spoke about how Amla had assisted him in making the transition from being a subcontinent "bully" to being successful in scoring runs in the "Sena" (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries.
"I must thank Hashim also," he said. "I remember in 2016, I had a chat with him (about) how to bat in South Africa - I hope he remembers that."
In typical Amla fashion, the Proteas legend responded by saying there was "no rocket science" to the advice he passed on and that they they had merely "focused on the basics".
It is this understated demeanour that seems to resonate with young and old as English rookie Tom Banton also sang Amla's praises after a recent stint in the Pakistan Super League.
"It was really nice to work with Hash and see how he goes about it. He sat me down after a low few scores and said 'it's not all about cricket, there's a lot more to life than a first-baller'.“
Furthermore, I believe Amla could be the spark needed to reignite Quinton de Kock.
The Proteas need De Kock to rediscover his mojo for he is easily their most dynamic batsman sans AB de Villiers.
Amla and De Kock shared a unique relationship during their playing days. It almost seemed obscure to the outside observer considering their vastly different personalities, but De Kock, in particular, valued it immensely.
De Kock enjoyed Amla's passive demeanor as the "Bearded Wonder" merely appreciated his partner's flawed genius. And more often than not it brought out the best in De Kock.
"Yoh! There is lots of things he (Amla) taught me. I've made lots of mistakes in my career and he was the one guy that helped me and backed me," De Kock said ahead of the 2019 MSL.
It is unlikely that Amla would want a full-time role considering the Proteas' travel commitments, but it is certainly is a conversation that Director of Cricket Graeme Smith urgently needs to explore going forward.