Proteas legend Herschelle Gibbs fears that Hashim Amla’s lack of runs may affect his self-confidence heading into the World Cup, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
On 18 April 2019, the Proteas announced their 15-man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup to be played in England and Wales.
The major omission from the side was Lions and Proteas batsman Reeza Hendricks, while the Proteas selectors opted for Amla and Aiden Markram.
Amla, however, hasn’t been in the best form, scoring just 154 runs in his last 11 matches across all formats. This raises concerns whether the 36-year-old can emerge from his slump and go on to prove that he warrants this show of faith.
In an exclusive interview with SACricketmag.com, Gibbs explained why he disagrees with the selectors’ decision to pick an ‘ageing’ Amla.
‘As far as Hash is concerned, he obviously hasn’t made runs and his fielding hasn’t been what it should be,’ said Gibbs on Wednesday.
‘Even those who are Hashim Amla fans would obviously be concerned, because even in domestic cricket he hasn’t made runs lately. Obviously, the selectors have given him the benefit of the doubt.
‘Whether or not he made runs in England is complete irrelevance – The old saying “you only as good as your last innings”, they [selectors] should respect that.
‘Look at his World Cup record as well; irrespective of his record in the UK, it’s about whether he goes to the tournament with form. They have put themselves in the position – selectors, coach and captain – where if it comes off, then it’s all hunky dory, but if it doesn’t you end up with egg on the face.
‘You will end up with people saying “I told you so, you should have never picked him in the first place.” Why would you want to put yourself in that position by going there with that concern?
‘The guy that is going to feel it the most is Hashim himself. This will put even more pressure on Hashim to actually perform. If he doesn’t perform, you end up with even more egg on your face.
‘But you never know with cricket, it could come off, or his bad form will continue. If he doesn’t find form in the warm-up games there will be an even bigger concern.’
There undoubtedly will be an uproar about Gibbs’ opinion, but there was no disrespect shown when talking about his former teammate.
His analysis of Amla’s game is proof of that. Gibbs does not doubt Amla’s ability, but rather his self-confidence.
‘If you look at some of his dismissals to both the seamers and the spinners, there hasn’t been any feet movement whatsoever,’ added Gibbs, who amassed 248 ODI caps in the green and gold. ‘Whether he is not picking up the line of the ball or the length I’m not too sure.
‘What people need to understand is, irrespective of how good you are, when you run into a bad run of form your confidence and self-belief takes a knock until you get out of it. You will always have that concern at the back of your mind.
‘Because he has been so consistent over the years, people are probably jumping to conclusions as to what the issue is. Obviously, with me having been in the same position before, your belief and self-confidence take a knock.
‘The numbers show its not a technical issue, but I think it has a lot to do with his confidence taking a knock. The longer the bad run of form continues, [the longer] that concerns stay with you because you know there is added pressure on you.
‘That added pressure also makes you do things you wouldn’t usually do.’
The Proteas take on hosts England in the World Cup opener at The Oval on 30 May.
Photo: Mike Bowers/Gallo Images