Proteas captain Faf du Plessis says Hashim Amla is the sort of global icon who deserves to be able to decide his own exit from the game, while Amla himself said he has no immediate plans for retirement.
The 36-year-old Amla was a controversial selection for the World Cup and has struggled in the tournament, averaging just 24.60, with a strike-rate below 60 before he played his most fluent innings in a long time in the win over Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street, stroking a classy 80 not out off 105 balls.
“Hashim did brilliantly and he says he wants to keep going, so I would leave it to a great player to make a decision about retirement himself. I believe you should see great players make their own exit. If he’s not consistently putting runs on the board or if he can be pushed out of the team by someone else then that might change. Either way I’m sure he will sit down after the World Cup and discuss the way forward with whoever is going to make those selection decisions,” Du Plessis said.
Amla himself gave a typically sanguine answer when asked if he had any retirement plans and whether this would be his last World Cup.
“I just want to play the next game and then get home and chill with the family. But I feel fit and if selected I’m sure I have some good innings left in me. Four years is a long way away though,” Amla said.
It was like watching the old Amla bat against Sri Lanka as he collected his runs with his trademark ease and economy of effort; all wrists and timing as he gathered five sweetly struck boundaries and seemed to middle just about everything.
“You do get days like that and it felt quite fluent. I just concentrated on each ball like normal and thankfully the runs came. I just try and prepare as best I can for every innings and give each ball the care it deserves. Sometimes the runs come and sometimes they don’t…
“The big scores haven’t really materialised in this World Cup. Maybe there was a bit of over-excitement about that, because the pitches and conditions haven’t allowed massive totals. So when you’re chasing lower totals there is no rush. I can play the way I know, which is a bit slower than some other batsmen, but you just want to fit into the team needs and play your part. It wasn’t really happening for me earlier,” Amla said.