Hashim Amla feels refreshed and confident ahead of the opening game against England at The Oval on 30 May.
An in-form Amla will be crucial to the Proteas’ success in the UK. The 36-year-old’s record can’t be ignored, in fact, it should be admired – 851 runs and an impressive average of 56.73. This has made it incredibly hard to leave him out of the Proteas’ plans.
Faf du Plessis spoke about the influence of Amla in the Proteas’ environment, but made it clear that performances in the two warm-up games will be crucial to their final selection for the opener.
‘Form does play a huge role in a long competition like this – so hopefully Hash can go into those warm-ups, and bang, bang two centuries in a row, and then we can smile from there.’
Amla is confident he will produce the goods, especially against England.
‘It is the best first game we could have asked for. We have played England recently and had some success against them. I have done well against them too,’ he said.
‘This year, you don’t see the same big names and that is why the focus is not on us, but that has some good in it.
‘There has not been much chat about us winning in comparison with the past, but I don’t think that played a part in how we performed.
‘At the end of the day, we always gave our best and played to win. The fact there has not been a lot of chat at this World Cup means there is less expectation, but in the team, we think we can do well.’
The bearded genius has had a tough couple of months. This saw him pull out of South Africa’s local T20 competition. He also never took part in the IPL.
‘Things happen that you don’t anticipate, and I did not anticipate how things have gone recently,’ he said.
‘But I am a firm believer that when something happens, there is some good in it. I have had time away and now I am really looking back to wearing the green and gold again.
‘I am hungrier than ever before, there is no doubt about that. I have been blessed to have this shirt for a while, but the time off has made me want to come back stronger.
‘This is my third [ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup] so I know what it is all about. I have a strong record in England and I have always enjoyed coming here.’
Photo: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters