Hashim Amla at home in the united nations of Hampshire
Hashim Amla must have felt at home in the Hampshire team he played for against Essex at Southampton in the latest round of county championship matches.
Amla batted at No 4‚ one place above Rilee Rossouw and four higher than Kyle Abbott.
Brad Wheal‚ a Durban-born former KwaZulu-Natal under-19 fast bowler who has played 11 one-day internationals for Scotland‚ was listed at No. 10.
Amla might also have felt as if Hampshire’s dressingroom in Southampton was a United Nations project.
Fidel Edwards‚ of Barbados and a veteran of 55 Tests‚ 50 ODIs and 20 T20s for West Indies‚ was their No. 11.
Other members of the Hampshire squad are Zimbabwe’s Sean Ervine‚ Ian Holland‚ who was born in Stevens Point‚ Wisconsin in the United States and grew up in Melbourne‚ Australia‚ and Gareth Berg‚ originally a Capetonian‚ who last played in South Africa in November 2003.
Berg‚ a seaming allrounder‚ played for Western Province at under-15‚ under-18 and B level — and owns 80 T20 international caps for Italy.
Of the 21 players on Hampshire’s books this season only three are actually from the county‚ a trend that holds true around the circuit.
So‚ can we really call the competition the English county championship?
Yes‚ if it is regarded in relation to the foreign free-for-all that is football’s premier league.
And in light of English cricket’s long history‚ at all levels‚ of importing players from elsewhere.
In Amla‚ Dale Steyn told TimesLIVE from his holiday in Bali‚ Hampshire have struck it lucky by signing‚ for the first three months of the season‚ anyway: a gun batsman and a classy bloke: “Obviously he’s a machine in terms of runs; he just churns them out regardless of the format.
“But I find that ‘Hash’ has always brought a sense of calm to the team. We all have our ways but to remain calm in extreme situations is an incredible strength.
“He’s also never shy of a bit of humor‚ very smart and calculated in his approach‚ he always brings a smile to the guys’ faces.”
So Steyn has a happy reunion in his diary: he is due to become Saffer No. 6 on Hampshire’s roster for two first-class matches next month.
Steyn might want to give Amla some material for his next jolly jape in the dressingroom — like most of his teammates‚ allrounder Asher Hart is not from Hampshire. He’s from Cumbria and came to the county by way of Durham.
That’s not the funny bit. This is: his full name is Asher Hale-Bopp Joseph Arthur Hart.
What came to be named the Hale-Bopp Comet was discovered by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp in July 1995.
That year‚ Hampshire were represented by two West Indians and a player each from Australia‚ India‚ Kenya and Zimbabwe.
South Africans? None.