Amla leaves Dolphins for Cobras

2013-04-23 00:00

HASHIM Amla (30), perhaps Durban’s most respected cricketer, has decided to end his association with the Dolphins and move to the Cape Cobras with immediate effect.

Amla announced his decision yesterday, in a statement released through his agent and Cricket South Africa.

Said Amla: “This has not been an easy decision as I am a Durban boy through and through. This is where I have always had my roots and my cricket career has grown to where it is through the support of the KZN fans and the Dolphins franchise.”

He added that he would miss the support of his loyal fans, many of whom have watched his career blossom and flourish, to the point of him being the number one ranked batsman in Tests and one-day listings, plus a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in the recently published 2013 edition of the cricketer’s bible.

“Although my national commitments have prevented much domestic cricket in recent seasons, it’s the unbelievable support from the fans that I will miss the most. I will always cherish those memories,” he added.

Amla’s move has laid to rest rife speculation of him wanting to move from Durban. A few weeks ago, it was reported Amla was considering a move, but the KZNCU was strong in denying such allegations, firmly standing its ground on the matter and releasing a statement to the effect of Amla and the union having no cause for concern.

According to KZNCU CEO Jesse Chelin, Amla would remain in Durban. When allegations surfaced of Hashim being unhappy with the state of affairs within the Dolphins setup, one of the matters of concern regarded his brother Ahmed.

It was reported that Hashim was unhappy that his brother had not been called up to the senior Dolphins side all season and he (Hashim) was threatening to leave unless Ahmed was given another contract for the coming season.

Chelin admitted that one of the contracts under deep scrutiny ahead of next season was Ahmed Amla’s and it’s clear he was obviously not going to be on the books next season, hence his (Ahmed’s) retirement announcement last Friday.

Sadly, it’s fair to say this is egg on the face of the franchise as they are forced to acknowledge they have lost their brightest and world respected star.

According to Ismail Kajee of MSI Communications, who is the agent for the Amlas, Hashim is out the country for three weeks, while attempts to reach Ahmed have been unsuccessful, his phone going straight to voicemail. The bottom line is it appears the Amlas have had enough and have acted accordingly, one retiring and one moving on, both with good wishes from the KZNCU.

Said Amla: “I have decided to pursue my domestic career with the Cobras, a team with as rich a tradition as the Dolphins. It’s an exciting challenge and I look forward to the change of environment and meeting new friends and colleagues.”

Amla attended Durban High School (DHS) and made his first class debut in 1999/2000.

He has played his entire domestic career in Durban, captaining the Dolphins for a single season before national ambitions took centre stage.

Cricket fans throughout the province have adopted Amla, keenly following his unbelievable progress on the world cricketing stage, sharing his rise to the top of the game and proud to call him a true son of the province. Many aspiring young cricketers have no hesitation in naming Amla as their hero.

Chelin accepted Amla’s decision, saying: “As a Cricket South Africa [CSA] contracted player, we have no contractual hold over him. It is entirely his decision where he wishes to play his cricket as he is past the stage of having a franchise contract.

“There is nothing we can offer and in today’s world of modern sport, players move around at their own free will. I stress again, it’s entirely his choice.”

Having said that, Chelin wished Amla well and thanked him for his immense contribution to Dolphins and international cricket.

Said Chelin: “The most important thing is Hashim being a national asset. He achieved this status playing for the Dolphins and his success and contribution to the game has given joy to countless generations of cricket followers. He will continue to ply his trade with the same humble attitude he has always had and as a union, we thank him and wish him well.”

KZNCU president Fa-eez Jaffer said: “We thank Hashim for his sterling service to the franchise and the game. He has been a fantastic ambassador for the game in the province and a perfect role model to many youngsters. We respect his decision and wish him all the best for the next stage of his career.”

Current Dolphins skipper Daryn Smit said: “Hashim and I played schoolboy cricket and when I stepped into the Dolphins team, he was the player I gravitated to. He has always been the perfect role model, the ultimate professional and had a calming influence on the team. His loyalty is second to none and it’s disappointing to see him go. It’s a surprise to me and I think it’s more of a personal issue that has seen him make this decision.”

Further down south, CEO of the Cobras, Andre Odendaal made no bones about the franchise’s super catch.

“I do not think we fully appreciate how highly history will measure Hashim’s value to SA cricket, his brilliance on the field and humility off the pitch.

“He will add to the Cobras’ diversity and strengthen the team’s precondition of excellence and success,” he said.

Cobras chairperson Beresford Williams said it was a huge compliment that one of cricket’s greats had decided to join his franchise, while Cobras coach Paul Adams said: “While Hashim may not play much for us, he adds depth and aura to a brand we aim to make the best. He is the perfect guy to have in any team.”

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