Hashim Amla’s staggering figures of over 9000 Test runs at an average of over 46 and more than 8000 ODI runs at an average of 49.5 is enough to prove he is a modern day batting legend, but the greater legacy of the bearded South African batsman is his saint like batting approach and modesty. After his somewhat shocking retirement from international cricket, the 36-year old recently joined Khulna Tigers to play in the ongoing Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League, and Minhaz Uddin Khan of Dhaka Tribune took the opportunity interview the stalwart batsman.
You seem to be at the peak of your game. Was it difficult to call it a day?
Post-World Cup I gave it some thought, and that I have no regrets after serving 15 years in international cricket is a blessing. I never imagined how things went, but Alhamdulillah it did. It wasn’t a tough decision, as I thought it was the right time. I have always tried to play cricket the best way, giving my absolute all in the field and practice, especially with my team mates. I am very grateful for whatever I have.
How have your post retirement days been?
It has been very nice and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Obviously, after the World Cup, I had two months at home where I spoke to my family before I officially retired. I have been very fortunate to serve the South African team in international circuit for over 15 years. Now, I can have some flexibility in my time, so it is going to be very enjoyable.
You are the fastest to score seven thousand ODI runs and also fastest to score 27 ODI hundreds, in 167 innings. Was there a race against time for you?
No, not at all (smiles). When these types of milestones came up, I had no knowledge of it and was told of such things later. Playing cricket was never about that for me, as it can start to work on my mind. There was no race against time, as I enjoyed playing international cricket and scoring runs at the top level.
You are also the only South African to score a triple hundred in Tests. Obviously, you knew about that before achieving the feat?
It was a surreal moment. I always believe that records are meant to be broken and it doesn’t belong to you, but I am very grateful to become the first person to score a triple hundred for South Africa in Tests. I know it will eventually be broken by someone else and I try not to be too attached to it, as it belongs to others. But Alhamdulillah, I am grateful as I said I have never imagined it would happen.
You have your own unique technique. Did you adopt it right from the beginning or did you develop it while playing international cricket?
Everyone’s technique evolves the more they play international cricket. Certainly, at the start of your career, when you are playing domestic cricket, you certainly get such analysis over your batting. So, you play, and you do well, and play for South Africa in international cricket, then other things are made to work for you, so you do better and work on a few things. The amount of analysis that happens in international cricket, there are always ways to improve.
Suppose a player from Bangladesh has played for a couple of years in international cricket, and he doesn’t know how to develop further when it’s come to his batting. What will be your message for the player?
To be very honest with you, there are many ways to improve. There is dealing with the distractions coming into success and failures. Both of them have their downfalls. When you have success, it is easy to get complacent and you might relax at times. When you fail, you lose courage to improve. Those types of things are tough to manage and most international players find ways to manage. It is not about scoring runs or not scoring runs, as the constant is striving for improvement. It is the process that is important, and preparing accordingly. If you have a good coach educating such things it helps your career, which worked well for me. It is not that you have to bat only according to the basics, as there should be individualism to every batter, one’s own style.
What is discipline for Hashim Amla?
I think discipline goes in hand with the manner. It is about doing what is important at the given time. If you have a match tomorrow, you would want to sleep early. If you don’t have a game you, can stay awake late at night to spend time with your family and it is fine. In the game, discipline is remaining as focused as you can be on the task at hand and trying not to be caught up by many distractions of wanting to do things that you haven’t practiced, as it does come to the mind of a batsman.
Former @OfficialCSA batsman @amlahash, one of the most elegant players the game of cricket has ever seen, is now in Bangladesh to play for Khulna Tigers in the Bangabandhu @BCBtigers Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20.https://t.co/n9EiHzyJfi#BCBTIGERS #BCB #TIGERS #BANGLADESH— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) January 2, 2020
How has the BBPL been for you, so far, as it is your first time?
I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I always intended to come here at some stage. It is lovely to come here and I have been pleasantly surprised at how organized things are here. The warmth and the passion in this country is always there, which is something we find in all the sub continental countries, so it is a pleasure.
May you please share your memories regarding Bangladesh?
I have always had good memories against Bangladesh, both here and back in South Africa. Nafees Iqbal and I played in the Under-19 World Cup, so the bonding was there from 2002. It is always lovely to meet the same faces over almost 17 years. The way Bangladesh has improved over the last five years or so, beating big teams, they have obviously become a very good side in world cricket.
There have been talks over shortening Test cricket from five days to four. What is your take?
I would keep it to five days if it was up to me. I haven’t given it a lot of thought, as there is a lot going on behind closed doors with the brain trust of the ICC.