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The ODI journey of Hashim Amla

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Hashim_Amla_South_Africa_cricketWhen you think of Hashim Amla, the first image that comes to mind is that of a technically correct batsman who scores runs with delectable stroke play and sublime grace. Even when he hits sixes, he seems to caress the ball rather than bludgeon it. However, he is not a batsman who does not score runs despite being technically correct and pleasing to the eye. His record in ODIs is simply brilliant and he deals well in the currency of runs.

In fact, if not for the presence of players like AB De Villiers and Jacques Kallis, he would have even more recognition than he does. This could be a boon or a bane, depending on your point of view. It either deprives him of some well-deserved recognition or helps him stay under the radar without putting too much pressure on him.

Amla has scored 7,381 runs in 158 ODIs with an average of 51.25 and a strike rate of 89.21, with 26 centuries. He is fifth in the list of most centuries scored in ODIs. To put things in perspective, Virat Kohli has scored 31 centuries in 200 ODIs and scored his 26th century in his 174th ODI. Amla is well on the way to being the fastest to score 30 ODI centuries. However, he is 34 years old and cannot realistically hope to be the all-time leading run scorer or century maker.

Amla is the fastest to the milestones of scoring 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 runs in ODIs, reaching there in 40, 57, 81, 101, 123 and 150 innings respectively. Equally adept against both pace and spin, he does not seem to have any obvious weaknesses in his batting. He averages 51.95 against pace and 56.09 against spin.

When South Africa bat first, he has scored 4,797 runs at an average of 57.1 and a strike rate of 92.28 with 20 centuries. When South Africa are chasing, he has scored 2,584 runs at an average of 43.06 and a strike rate of 84.03 with 6 centuries. If you want to nitpick, you could say that his record while chasing isn’t as good as his record batting first. However, viewed in isolation those are fine figures.

At home, Amla has scored 3,130 runs at an average of 57.96 and a strike rate of 91.73 with 13 centuries. On the road, he has scored 2,917 runs at a batting average of 48.61 and a strike rate of 85.89 with 9 centuries. At neutral venues, he has scored 1,334 runs at an average of 44.46 and a strike rate of 91.05 with 4 centuries. The table below gives Amla’s record in ODIs in all 5 continents.

 

Continent

Matches

Runs

Average

S/R

Africa

65

3439

57.31

90.52

Americas

11

643

64.3

96.11

Asia

34

1295

43.16

88.94

Europe

19

871

54.43

81.8

Oceania

29

1133

40.46

89.51

 

The table below gives Amla’s record in ODIs against all Test playing nations. He has a stellar record against all countries except Australia. That can be explained as a combination of the law of averages rather than any perceived weakness against them. He has scored prolifically all over the world and in varied conditions facing different types of bowling. He has also scored ODI centuries against all Test playing nations.

 

Opponent

Matches

Runs

Average

S/R

100s

Australia

23

699

33.28

79.34

1

Bangladesh

11

497

62.12

87.5

2

England

21

963

53.5

88.1

2

India

19

778

43.22

87.12

2

New Zealand

18

689

38.27

79.1

2

Pakistan

19

831

46.16

91.92

2

Sri Lanka

16

902

60.13

89.48

5

West Indies

15

1063

81.76

99.9

5

Zimbabwe

9

552

69

92.92

3

 

Amla made his ODI debut on 9th March, 2008. Since then, he has scored 7,351 runs as an opener at an average of 51.76 and a strike rate of 89.51, which is the most by an opener in ODIs. He is the 5th highest scorer in ODIs during this time behind Virat Kohli, Kumar Sangakkara, AB De Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan. This shows that consistency with which he has accumulated runs over an ODI career that has spanned nearly 10 years.

There have been 10 openers who have scored over 7,000 runs in ODIs. The table below gives their career stats as openers in ODIs.

 

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

S/R

100s

S Tendulkar

344

15310

48.29

88.05

45

S Jayasuriya

388

12740

34.61

92.48

28

Adam Gilchrist

260

9200

36.5

98.02

16

S Ganguly

242

9146

41.57

73.59

19

Chris Gayle

252

9093

39.19

86.46

22

D Haynes

238

8648

41.37

63.09

17

Saeed Anwar

220

8156

39.98

79.93

20

Virender Sehwag

214

7518

36.49

104.72

14

T Dilshan

179

7367

46.04

89.08

21

Hashim Amla

158

7351

51.76

89.51

26

 

Amla has the highest average and only Sehwag and Jayasuriya have a higher strike rate. This shows that Amla belongs in the pantheon of all-time great ODI batsmen. Even if he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, Amla will just quietly and unobtrusively go about his business of scoring runs. Let us salute him for his stupendous achievements.

 

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