Cape Town – Neil McKenzie has nailed his colours firmly to the mast over Proteas captain Hashim Amla’s batting prospects in the looming four-Test series against England.
“AB (de Villiers) has been by far South Africa’s best batsman against India,” said McKenzie, a guest in the SuperSport studio as their pundits on Monday summarised the 3-0 defeat there for the world’s still No 1-ranked team.
“But as far as Hashim Amla is concerned, I’d like to say right now: I feel sorry for England. Someone is going to catch it properly.”
Lions veteran McKenzie, once a Test team-mate of Amla’s, was speaking in the wake of the skipper ending the series with a marathon 244-ball vigil for 25 in the Proteas’ second innings before they succumbed by 337 runs in the fourth and final encounter in Delhi.
The bearded right-hander unusually failed to register even a single half-century in seven innings against the Indians after some superlative prior performances in that country, but at least showed a return to crease-occupying stubbornness in both Delhi and the second knock of the Nagpur Test, where he had compiled 39 off 167 deliveries.
Co-pundit Kepler Wessels concurred – in a slightly more measured way -- that England might be on the receiving end of a backlash from Amla, who still averages a touch above 50 (50.64) after 88 Tests.
“If he gets past 20 or 30 against the English on our (surfaces) ... yes, it will be payback time,” Wessels said.
Amla has scored 1,104 runs in a total of 13 Tests against England, at an average of 52.57.
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