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Amla to revive his flagging career?

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Jan 18, 2019, 17:21

The following from News24:-


"It will be a popular development if it comes about.

Veteran Proteas batsman Hashim Amla, showing promising seeds of revival after a lengthy spell of under-delivery at various levels, has the opportunity in a full, five-match one-day international series against Pakistan from Saturday (St George's Park, 13:00) to hoist his average back to the hallowed 50-mark.

Or at least to kick-start the process, which will also soon enough feature another inviting opportunity: an equal-length home series against Sri Lanka.

Now well into his 36th year and having had a rough old time of it recently in the Test arena as well, there has been inevitable, understandable speculation that his powers are on the wane.

Damage to his once sublime - though still highly impressive - international batting statistics has been especially acute at five-day level, where he has gradually dipped from a once settled average in the low- to mid-fifties to 47.33. It may be a tall order now to expect the great accumulator to push that figure back to half-ton terrain.

But in ODIs, where the decline has been limited to his present 49.65 - though also from the prior mid-fifties - he probably sports a better chance of returning that curve more northward.

Not too many of the world's most long-serving, consistent limited-overs stars can boast career ODI averages in the fifties, remember.

Of the top 20 heaviest scorers in the landscape of all time, just three (Virat Kohli 59.76, AB de Villiers 53.50 and MS Dhoni 50.38) have managed that status; Kohli and Dhoni, of course, remain active for India and in sprightly present form in Australia.

The heaviest run-maker in ODIs, Sachin Tendulkar (18,426) averaged "only" 44.83.

Amla, for the record, is currently the 32nd best runs-grabber in ODI history and likely to shift up several positions even if he decides to pull the plug on his illustrious career after the World Cup, beginning in England in late May.

Although nobody qualifies on sentimental grounds, it would somehow just feel right if the popular, long-serving stroke-player can hike back to 50-plus territory in at least one of the two major formats before he strolls into the sunset.

He will begin this ODI series, in Port Elizabeth, presumably very heartened by his steely, so welcome dual contribution of 41 and 71 at the Wanderers to the Proteas' clean sweep-ensuring triumph over the Pakistanis in the Test series.

Amla is not quite "there" yet in terms of rekindling his heyday, of course. As visiting SuperSport commentator and scribe Mark Nicholas observed this week on www.espncricinfo.com: "(His) cricket these past weeks has revealed both the influence of Father Time and a deep-rooted determination to overcome him."

But a discernible stride back toward regular, meaningful productiveness is nevertheless apparent: Amla had also weighed in with a gritty 63 not out in tricky, sometimes lottery-like conditions in the second innings of the first Test at Centurion, and shortly before that ended an unusually desperate little period for him with a knock of 61 for the Cape Cobras in the domestic franchise first-class competition.

So the scene is quite promisingly set for Amla to begin his personal, 2019 ODI campaign successfully.

The 2018 calendar year had been the worst of his decade in the environment; he managed an average of only 28.63. That is incomparable with, for instance, his halcyon 2012 year when his average was a dreamy 84.75.

St George's Park is not traditionally one of his more notably happy hunting grounds in ODIs; none of his 26 centuries have been registered there.

But he has notched half-centuries in each of his last two matches in the format there, and fell tantalisingly short of the three-figure mark in the last Friendly City clash specifically with Pakistan, back in November 2013: he plundered 98."


I am afraid Mark Nicholas is right about Amla.   Father Time got to him.    Amla batted painfully slow in test cricket - yet in all the Pakistani games he made flaws and could have been out much earlier.   He actually only made three decent scores in the tests - namely 41, 63* and 71 in the tests against Pakistan   and info on those three scores  is as follows:-


First test  (2nd innings)       =    63  (not out)  -   balls faced  148    -    SR    42,57

Third test                               =   41                   -                          98   -     SR    41,83

                                               =    71                                            144  -      SR    49,30


The argument will always be that in tests strike rates are not as important than they are in the shorter versions of the game -  but a test strike rate of below 50 (ie 3 rpo) is not acceptable.


In ODI's the fact is that scoring at a rate of over 75 is paramount.   In the case of top batsman in ODI's  Amla - even though starting slowly - in his prime regularly ended up with a SR of circa 100 in innings.   But in recent times the strike rate started to decline and the question indeed remains - can Amla gets his SR up to an acceptable level and continue to score acceptable runs as well.


In our recent history only AB retired from international ODI cricket when he was still tops.   In his last two ODI's Kallis maintained  good scores - but his SR went out of the window.   His last ODI in 2013 he made 50 runs from 90 balls (SR 55,56) and as a result the Prteas lost the game against Pakistan).   Graeme Smith in 2103 was a disaster in ODI's and he was told by the coach he is out of the squad.


The question remains whether Amla  will succeed and recover his form in ODI's?   I believe it will not happen - his hand-eye co-ordination is gone as already shown in the tests - and his SR is gone down in shortened versions of the game.   In the recent Mzanzi series he was a total flop.                  


Jan 20, 2019, 03:39

I am afraid despite his century I was not overly impressed by the way Amla played today,  He started of well - his strike rate was good and he showed  signs of the old Amla,   However he quickly started going backwards as is evidenced by the following:-

*   He was not out and batted through the game,   In the game he hit only 7 fours and 1 six with the result that at times during the match his strike rate became below 4 rpo.   

*    After over 25 he never hit a four and his 1 six was the only boundary he hit.

*    The commentators were forecasting that there is a problem with the run rate and that the Proteas needs at least 280 to 290 runs to be competitive.  They did not get there despite the determined efforts of Van der Dussen to achieve that objective - Amla made no effirt to ensure faster batting, 

Insofar as Van der Dussen is concerned he struggled to make his first run in ODI's taking 12 balls to make his first run.   When he came in Amla already had 40 runs.   when he went out he had 93 runs off 101 balls.   By the time he went out Amla had 96 runs - so in that period  Amla scored only 56 runs against the 93 scored by Van der Dussen, 

I was not impressed by Hendricks either,   In both his and Amla's case the situation is that the aim should from the start have been to achieve at least 20 runs more than what was actually scored,   And that aim was never borne in mind by Amla and  Hendricks.

So who lost the game for the Proteas today?   I am afraid it was Amla and Hendricks despite their high scores.     

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