It sounds a bit disrespectful perhaps but if cricket fans were to be asked which South African batter they felt would make the biggest impact in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) would be, Hashim Amla wouldn’t be that man.
The bearded Proteas star is a great player but he’s not a T20 star.
At least before Sunday night’s between Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions.
Amla stroked a magnificent 104 off just 60 deliveries, a mere two weeks after he managed the same amount of runs off the same amount of balls.
In fact, the 33-year-old veteran has been outstanding overall with 420 runs at a strike rate of 145, having also scored two fifties.
To put that into perspective, Amla has gobbled up almost twice the amount of runs of Proteas one-day skipper AB de Villiers.
De Villiers, far more famous for his T20 exploits, scores at a strike rate of 132 in 2017.
“I’m happy to get some runs. What else can I say?” said Amla laughingly after his latest hundred.
“I’m very grateful.”
Yet the amount of runs he’s scored testifies to his ability to be versatile.
Amla has smashed 17 sixes in this year’s campaign but you hardly would’ve realised.
He never tries anything out of the ordinary and he never slogs because Amla knows that’s not his natural game.
“Everybody who plays T20 cricket just needs to find a way to maximise each ball they face,” he said.
“You’ll find many cricketers who have been successful in T20 cricket without looking ‘agricultural’ as they say.
“They play play proper cricket shots to get runs. I know the issue comes up every time when someone not known as a natural T20 player scores runs but over the past 10 years, the format has accommodated a lot of players like that.”
The Proteas will certainly be smiling ahead of next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in England.