Stop blaming Kolpak, SA were just plain poor in India, says Amla

Hashim Amla of South Africa during the ICC Cricket World Cup match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at The Riverside Durham on June 28, 2019 in Chester-le-Street, England. (Photo by Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images)

The bearded batting legend, who recently went the Kolpak route himself, says the controversial issue can’t be the root of all local cricket’s ills.

Hashim Amla might’ve been a serious performer for the Proteas, but his performances during media briefings were far more diplomatic.

However, since retiring from international cricket after a failed World Cup campaign, the bearded batting legend is clearly becoming more outspoken in his own quiet way.

In an interview with PakPassion.net, the 36-year-old admits to being “amused” by South African cricket’s sudden focus on blaming the Kolpak exodus for the Proteas’ recent struggles, the nadir being a 3-0 Test series whitewash in India.

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“I find it very amusing whenever this whole subject of Kolpak and its effects on South Africa cricket are brought up,” Amla, currently playing in the Abu Dhabi T10, said.

“Kolpak has been around for a long time, and so it’s surprising to me that it is been touted as the reason for all evils only because we lost the recent Test series to India.”

South African cricket has indeed bled a lot of depth, with the notable recent departures of Kyle Abbott, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas, Rilee Rossouw, Marchant de Lange, Duanne Olivier, Hardus Viljoen and Colin Ingram being particularly damaging because all those players could be considered to be in the prime of their careers.

Amla, however, also notes that he can’t be totally blameless as he’s also signed a Kolpak contract with Surrey, where he’ll join fellow former Protea Morne Morkel.

But there is a difference.

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“Now, one may argue that I am saying this because I have signed to play for Surrey next year as a Kolpak player but my story is slightly different as I have a few years of international cricket under my belt. The fact remains that this whole issue has gained importance just due to recent bad performances,” said Amla.

While the Proteas are in transition, the reasonable argument can also be made that simply played badly at times on the sub-continent, with the talented pace attack in particular adapting poorly.

“Let’s be honest about it, India are a really good side and they will probably beat all teams at home and the fact is that we did not play that well during the tour,” said Amla.

“Kolpak has been around for a long time, and so it’s surprising to me that it is been touted as the reason for all evils only because we lost the recent Test series to India.

“I don’t want this idea to become a convenient excuse for what basically were bad performances against India. When I was playing domestic cricket, we had quite a number of Kolpak players in our domestic teams also but then there was no talk of this subject at that time.”

Amla recently offered to be the Cape Town Blitz’ batting mentor in the MSL when he has free time.

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