July 23, 2012

South African cricket

Amla's batting unique

Abhishek Mukherjee

Osman Samiuddin, writing in The National, describes why the batsmanship of Hashim Amla, who scored a triple-century against South Africa on Sunday, is different from other contemporary prolific run-getters.

Bats are broader and heavier than ever today, with bigger edges but Amla's looks like something from the past, narrower somehow, less edged (it is probably neither). That imagined visual is key to enjoying Amla for it sustains the implication of equality in the fight between bat and ball. It makes his game appear riskier and more fallible than it probably is, as if any ball just now might catch an edge or sneak past the bat because it is so thin.

When others such as Jacques Kallis or Kumar Sangakkara or Sachin Tendulkar make double hundreds for example, their mastery can induce a numbness of experience after a while, where there is no hope ever that they will get out and that the balance that is cricket's eternal striving, between bat and ball, can never be restored. With Amla on the other hand the sense of domination never presents itself.


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