Hashim Amla’s 100th Test won’t be his last.
His Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, was decisive in quelling any rumours in that regard after the 33-year-old veteran this week decided not to take part in any media activities before Thursday’s third Test at the Wanderers.
“No, he’s definitely not retiring,” said Du Plessis on Wednesday.
“I’ve spoken to him and he’s still very keen to push along for as long as that fit body of his allows him to. He’s not even thinking about it.”
Instead, Du Plessis believes Amla’s reluctance to participate in the hype surrounding his big day is merely down to his own humble nature.
“It’s just another game for him,” he said.
“He doesn’t want any of the attention to be focused on him. He just wants to rock up and play another game of cricket. I’d like to make the game extra special for him, but that’s simply not who he is.”
Intriguingly, the South African skipper predicts the bearded talisman will be the eighth and last local players to reach the milestone of a century of Tests.
“I’m going out on a limb here but I don’t think any other South African player in future will join Hashim and the rest,” said Du Plessis.
“Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada are maybe two players who still might play 100 Tests but I’m not too sure about that.”
He cites the changing structural nature of the sport as one of the main reasons for the new generation of international cricketers not playing as many Tests as previously.
“Test cricket – and the game in general – has evolved so much. It’s not the same as before,” said Du Plessis.
“Guys like Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers got to their 100 Tests because there was a lot of five-day cricket played during that period.
“Now we’re seeing more and more T20 cricket being played and most players want a slice of the action.”
As a result, international careers are being shortened.
“Your shelf life as a top-class cricketer isn’t what it used to be. There’s simply too much cricket being played and it’s taking a toll on bodies,” said Du Plessis.
“I hope I’m proved wrong but that’s the way it’s certainly going.
“That’s why Hashim’s achievement needs to be celebrated. It’s a massive one.”