The stats suggest that Hashim Amla should be hailed the world’s best ODI batsman.
As the saying goes ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’. In Amla’s case, this will always be true. His immaculate timing and clean strokeplay alone make him one of the best batsmen ever to play any form of cricket.
We all know scrutiny and criticism is backed up by stats, and in recent times Amla has had some trouble finding the form which usually categorises him as invincible. After his 110 in the Tri-series against West Indies and Australia in June 2016, Amla only managed one score above fifty in eight matches. He got close against the Aussies, scoring 45 in the third ODI, but had to wait till the first ODI against Sri Lanka to finally get a half-century.
How did Amla silence critics? By breaking records.
He started with the best milestone of them all. By scoring a 100 in his hundredth Test at Centurion against Sri Lanka and since then has managed to maintain the standard.
He did the same in the ODIs, finding form with a 57 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka and then ending the series with a century on Friday, becoming the fastest to 24 tons. He scored 154, which brought up his 50th three-figure score at international level. Only seven other players have managed this feat, and Amla is the fastest to do have done so, beating Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Apart from this record, Amla is the fastest batsman to have reached 2 000, 3 000, 4 000, 5 000 and 6 000 ODI runs, and is on track to shatter Kohli’s current record for the fastest to 7 000, the India captain doing so in 161 innings. With 6 780 runs in 142 innings, Amla has 18 innings to score 220 runs.
Comparing him to Kohli became relevant after ex-Australia captain Ricky Ponting hailed Kohli as the best batsmen in world cricket. Ponting told Gulf News: ‘Is he the best batsman in the world? Yeah, he probably is.’ But stats have spoken, as Kohli will have to watch and wait to see yet another 1000-run milestone be crushed by the mighty Hash.
Age will swing the scale in Kohli’s favour, but age is a useless measurement on class. Kohli (28) has more international experience in receiving his debut at 19, compared with Amla (33), who only started his international career at 25. In a shorter time played, Amla has managed to build a reputation for himself as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.
Despite age catching up with him, he should be given the credit he deserves and that is to be called one of the greatest ODI batsman in the world.
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