Proteas opening batsman Hashim Amla credits Ramadan to have helped him with his conditioning.
The month of Ramadan is a time to reflect, cleanse and aspire to be a better person, and for those who practice Islam, be a better Muslim.
For Amla, the holy month could not have come at more opportune time. The 36-year-old has fond memories of England during the holy month, where one of the greatest performances of his career took place at Lord’, he however wasn’t fasting when he scored 311 not out in a Test against England in 2012.
The hours of fasting in South Africa are vastly different compared with England. In South Africa, Muslims go without food or drink for approximately 12 hours, in England, it’s approximately 17 hours.
Despite the drastic change, Amla has credited Ramadan to have helped him spiritually and mentally.
‘It really helps with my conditioning,’ Amla said, after South Africa’s rain-affected, final warm-up match against West Indies in Bristol.
‘Fasting is something I always look forward to. It’s the best month of the year. I see it as a great mental exercise and also as a great spiritual exercise.’
Faf du Plessis highlighted form as the key factor in deciding on the Proteas’ starting XI against England in the opening match, singling out the need for Amla to score big in the warm-ups to guarantee his spot in that side.
He did so in fine fashion, scoring two half-centuries.
‘Scoring runs is always important,’ said Amla. ‘Whether I make the playing XI or not is not up to me. I do what I can do, and what happens after that is for the benefit of the team.
‘It’s something you don’t try and force. It happens naturally. It’s not something I consciously think about, but I think it happens anyway.
‘There’s a lot of experience in the playing XI and the coaching staff, so that osmosis of information and knowledge is going to happen anyway.’
Amla will play two matches during Ramadan against England and Bangladesh, with Eid looking likely to be on the day the Proteas play India at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.