July 26, 2012

South African cricket

Amla's batting like Zaheer Abbas

Abhishek Mukherjee

Hashim Amla's batting during his triple century against England at The Oval was reminiscent of Zaheer Abbas at his best, writes Rob Bagchi in the Guardian.

There was one glorious back-foot drive off Jimmy Anderson that raced to the fence and a host of more orthodox, graceful cover drives. It was those shots especially that reminded The Spin of Yousuf but the little flourish at the top of his backlift also brought back older memories of arguably the most aesthetically pleasing and textbook-purest right-handed cover-driver this writer has seen. By coincidence that batsman, Zaheer Abbas, who turned 65 on Tuesday, made the previous best Test score in England by a man of Asian heritage, whose 274 Amla overtook on his way to establishing the fourth-highest innings in the 476 Test matches played in this country since 1880.

Dileep Premachandran, in NDTV, writes about Amla's grace that he found special in an interview eight years ago.

The half an hour spent with him was also more than enough to convince one that despite the special treatment - the Castle Lager logo had been removed from his shirt out of respect for his religious beliefs - he was still one of the boys. The room was as messy as any other, with clothes and kit strewn everywhere, save for the prayer mat, carefully folded away in a corner.

That was before Dean Jones and his infamous off-air comment, but the grace with which Amla handled that episode won him as many admirers as his revamped batting style. He still plays with an elegance and poise that eludes most, but the second coming has been marked most by a ruthlessness and endurance that few have shown in the game's long history.

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