Kaymo’s Korner: Only a matter of time until Hash finds his T20 groove

2014-03-25 10:00

If there’s one thing most cricket writers agree on, it’s that people pay much more attention to T20 cricket than they do to the rather lonely, single, old cousin that is first-class cricket.

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to the selection of a test side but they don’t flock to the games in the numbers you find at the “klap-en-soek” shortened version.

One reason could be that people believe what they see and little of what they hear or read, and Sunfoil Series cricket is not televised to the extent T20 cricket is.

This leads to the curious contradiction that is Hashim Amla, especially in the shortest format.

South Africa’s power hitters, Albie Morkel and David Miller, came to the fore domestically and overlooking them for the national squad would have led to demands for the selectors to be purged.

Amla’s inclusion in the team was always going to be a no-brainer,

but there have been howls of indignation as to how his inclusion in the starting 11 can be justified.

I’ll admit he batted far too slowly in the 21 T20 matches he’s played until yesterday’s game.

The qualities that have been the cornerstone of his test and ODI career have not been easily reproduced.

The Proteas have not passed 200 in any of the T20 matches Amla has been involved in, even though some have been in chases.

While slow starts have been an issue, it is symptomatic of our overall batting sickness more than anything else.

It’s unfair to blame one person for a team’s output.

Amla was not a batsman who participated much in the domestic T20 competitions but when he finally did this year in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge for the Cape Cobras, he was able to marry his grace with the required violence of fast-food cricket.

The Bearded One was the main reason the Cobras were able to bolt to the final before choking against his former team, the Dolphins.

He totalled 317 runs at an average of 45.28, with an eye-popping strike rate of 143.43.

Only three other batsmen bettered this strike rate.

Even still, those batsmen might have brought the runs, but not the stability Amla gave the Cobras.

His more explosive Proteas partner Quinton de Kock scored more runs for the Highveld Lions but with a lower strike rate (132.98).

Miller was the Ram Slam’s top run scorer, with the highest strike (153), but somehow still lacks the presence of the imperious Amla.

While statistics may say a lot but reveal little, these numbers are telling.

One thing they do prove is Amla can adapt to the short format.

His blistering 29-ball 48 against the Titans in January more than reaffirmed he can fulfil his duties in the opening berth in T20 cricket.

It was a normal Hash innings with all the spellbinding shots but no trace of force.

He did the domestic hard yards and a class player like him will, sooner or later, show the aptitude needed for slapdash cricket without sacrificing the beauty that keeps anyone with any idea of cricket glued to the screen when he is at the crease.

Amla has not been the fastest of starters when getting to grips with new formats. He started slowly in the other formats before kicking on.

He’ll do the same in T20 cricket – and when he does, please refer to this column and remember: I told you so.

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