Thursday, February 21, 2019

Has the bell tolled for Hashim Amla?

Hashim Amla recorded his first ever golden duck in Test cricket history yesterday. In isolation, this is not in and of itself a catastrophe. But it may be indicative of a great of the game in terminal, almost irreparable decline. Hashim Amla, great as he may be, has not averaged over 50 in a calendar year since 2014. To be fair, this does include two years, in 2016 and 2017 where he averaged 48.6 and 47.4 respectively. Still, given the fact that Hash has averaged around 26 in the last 14 months, it is hard to argue that the bell isn't beginning to ring ever louder.

In 21 away Tests since 2014, Amla averages 28 at a strike rate of 38. The nadir of his away experiences were reached when Amla, once the Foreign King of Asian conditions averaged 10 in Sri Lanka. Ten. Deca. So Amla has been playing pretty far below par away from home for the last five years. But the problems have begun to extend home. In 12 tests at home, since the turn of 2018, Amla averages 29.85. He has not hit a home century since beating up a helpless Bangladesh side at home in 2017.

It is tough to admit when a person you love, or in this case, love watching has moved past his prime and into the ether that is being bang average. With nearly 19000 international runs, and over 50 international centuries, Amla has certified his spot as an all time great of the game. You could make an argument that, when comparing across formats, he is one of the top 10, maybe 15 batsmen of all time. But it may be time for the Proteas to blood a new number three. Does this mean dropping Amla altogether, or dropping down to number 5 to hide him from the new ball? These re tough questions which I'm not paid to answer. All I know is that we go to India in 6 months, and I'd hate for that to be his curtain call with Ashwin and Jadeja running rampant. But someone better have an answer, because at the moment 15/1 is basically going to be 25/2 in 15 minutes.

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