One of Durban’s favourite cricketing sons Hashim Amla is fit and raring to go following a long injury lay-off when the Durban Heat kick off their Mzansi Super League campaign against the Cape Town Blitz at Kingsmead on Sunday.
Amla tore a tendon in his finger while fielding during the Caribbean Premier League and hasn’t played since, but having been through nearly two months of rehabilitation and a couple of practice games, he is ready to take his place at the top of the Heat batting order.
The Proteas T20 opening batsman has evolved his game and become one of the standout T20 batsmen in the world. He was not seen as a T20 batting prospect initially; however, through experience and a shift in mindset Amla has become a formidable T20 striker.
‘When I started playing T20 cricket, I just thought it was a game where you tried to hit every ball for four when it is not like that,’ Amla said.
‘Everyone has a unique approach to batting and so it is all about making that work within the T20 format.
‘Using that approach has helped me find my specific method that works,’ added Amla.
The Durban Heat have assembled a strong blend of youth and experience and with the likes of Amla, captain Albie Morkel and David Miller, there is a lot of T20 experience to add to the exciting younger players also in the set-up.
‘We have got a really good squad of players. All the teams have some strong players but I think we have a really well-rounded team.
‘There are a lot of Durban-based players which is healthy and will hopefully bring the people of Durban out to Kingsmead,’ he mentioned.
With 183 T20 games under his belt across international and franchise competitions, Amla’s experience will be invaluable to the Heat. His ability to impart knowledge to the other players will also be a bonus.
‘There are a few ways in which I can pass on what I know to the younger players. The first way is through the way you practise. When I was a youngster, I used to look at the more experienced players and observe what they do.
‘The other way is to just be with the guys. Whether you have had a good game or not, the interaction with the other players is healthy and that is how you learn,’ added Amla.
The fast-paced nature of T20 tournaments means that players have little time to breathe between games. Amla understands the pressures that come with a helter-skelter schedule and the importance of staying calm.
‘If you do lose two or three, it is easy to get caught up in that and suggest that changes be made but the key is to try and find a rhythm. The earlier you find that rhythm, the better, and it is important not to panic because you are going to go through tough patches in these tournaments.
‘It’s very seldom that teams go and win eight or nine games in a row. You are going to lose two or three, even in a good season,’ Amla said.
Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketpro.co.za and at Kingsmead Stadium.
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images