'100th test match is just another game for Hash,' says captain Faf
As testament to his well documented publicity shy reputation‚ there were no frills‚ fuss or fanfare around Hashim Amla the day before his 100th Test match at Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
In this day and age where sportsmen and women are largely driven by egos and self promotion‚ Amla has allowed others to talk about him in the build-up to Thursday’s Test where he will join an elite South African ‘100 club’.
His decision to shy away from reflecting on the 99 matches he has played so far since his debut in 2004 has disappointed millions of his fans around the world‚ but Proteas captain Faf du Plessis on Wednesday said it was not out of arrogance.
“100 Test match is an amazing effort but true to his demeanour‚ it is just another game for Hash‚" said Du Plessis during a pre-match press conference on Wednesday where he also described Amla as having been the rock of the South African batting line up.
"He does not want too much shine and attention on him and he just want to rock up on the day of the match and play another game of cricket.
"I would have liked to make something extra special for him but he did not want anything.”
Amla’s is a typical world class talent devoid of ego and there was not even a statement from Cricket South Africa (CSA) articulating his feelings about reaching a milestone that Du Plessis said may never be reached by any South African in future.
There is talk that he also turned down a special dinner to mark the occasion.
“I am going to make a big call here and say that probably he is the last person to play 100 Test matches for South Africa because of the way the game is changing.
"Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada are possibly looking at achieving that milestone because they are youngsters but it is a long way into the future.
"Test cricket is evolving and if you look at the South Africans who achieved 100 Tests it was during a period where a lot of matches where played.
"Now‚ there are a lot of T20s and I just think the game is changing so much that you won’t play that long and I would wait to be proven wrong.”
Amla goes into this Test match on the back of below par performances in Australia late last year and against the Sri Lankans so far.
But Du Plessis said he was not overly concerned by his poor form.
“I haven’t heard anyone in the team speaking about Hashim’s form or lack of runs.
"He has been a rock of our batting for a long time.
"In my opinion‚ he is also the most consistent player together with Jacques Kallis that South Africa has ever produced.
"On the top of my head‚ I think he has had only two lean patches in his entire career.
"He is not scoring as much runs right now but that is normal and we know that a big knock is around the corner for him.”
“When he is scoring or not scoring runs he remains exactly the same person which has taught me that that you need to look at success and failure in the same way.
"He is a very calm individual and he offers a lot off the field.”
Amla has scored 7 665 runs in his 99 Tests at an average of 49.45 which includes 31 half-centuries and 25 centuries.
- TMG Digital