Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Hashim Amla signs for Derbyshire!
Now we have, albeit for a short time, one of the world's greatest batsmen in Hashim Amla covering the mid-season gap that appeared likely to be problematic.
Hashim Amla. Ranked three in the world for both Test and one-day internationals. A man who, at times, appears to be playing on a different wicket to the bloke at the other end (remember his innings against us at The Oval for Surrey, when everyone else struggled?) He averages over fifty in Test and one-day internationals and is, quite simply, one of the greats of the modern game.
He is also the subject of one of my favourite cricket comments, when a broadcaster who really should have known better, said that Amla's bat was 'quite literally a wand'. I think he was mistaking him for Harry Potter, to be honest, though I appreciated the sentiment, if not the use of language...
Genius is a much over-used word in sport, but Amla is worth it - as you can see from this excerpt from Wikipedia:
In January 2011 Amla became the fastest cricketer to reach 2000 Runs in ODIs in his 40th ODI innings. Recently, he became the fastest cricketer to score 20 ODI centuries. He is currently ranked by the ICC as the world's number 3 batsman in Test and ODIs. Amla became the first South African to score a Test match triple century when he scored 311 not out against England in 2012. In the 57th innings of his one-day international career, Amla became the fastest batsman to score 3,000 ODI runs, requiring 12 innings fewer than Sir Vivian Richards. Also on 8 December 2013, he became the fastest batsman to score 4,000 ODI runs, requiring 8 innings fewer than Sir Vivian Richards. In his 57th match, Hashim Amla became the fastest cricketer to reach 10 centuries in ODIs. In 2013, Hashim Amla became the first batsman since Ricky Ponting to head both the Test and ODI rankings at the same time in the latest ICC charts. In 2014 he became the fastest cricketer to reach 15 centuries in ODIs in his 86th inning. In the same year he became the fastest cricketer to reach 16 centuries in ODIs in his 94th inning and fastest cricketer to 17 centuries in ODIs in his 98th inning. He scored 5 hundreds in ODIs in 2014. On 16 January 2015 against West Indies he became the fastest to reach 5000 runs in ODIs in his 101st inning. On 18 January 2015 he became the fastest cricketer to 18 centuries in ODIs in his 102nd inning. On 3 March 2015 he became the fastest cricketer to reach 20 centuries in ODIs in his 108th inning. He has scored ODI centuries against all test playing countries and only the 4th person to do so. He was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the year in 2013.
Amla has had three similar stints before, playing for Essex, Nottinghamshire and Surrey with great success. While there is a danger of failure in 'revolving door' recruitment, it is reduced when the player concerned is as good as the South African, as well as having such high standards. I have every confidence he will prove a success in his brief stay and will now try to work out how and when I can see him.
Next time you're down at Derby and happen to bump into Chris Grant and Simon Storey, make sure you thank them for the sterling work they are doing for our club. Time was when we recruited less stellar names to our colours, largely because we hadn't the contacts nor the collateral for anything else.
Now, with the work going on behind the scenes, the playing budget has increased and we can see the evidence of things with our own eyes. Guptill and Dilshan, two of the stand-outs of the recent World Cup, are with us, as now is Hashim Amla, a man with more records to his name than Richard Branson had when he ran Virgin record shops.
He will be with us in May, for two championship and three T20 matches, the first of his appearances being in the championship game against Northamptonshire, starting on May 10, which will also be my first sighting of the county 'in the flesh' this year. Now that's what I call a lucky coincidence! I assume that Dilshan's July absence is currently being looked at, but this will take some topping.
Hashim Amla of Derbyshire.
I can't believe that I just wrote that...