Hashim Amla, who retired from international cricket after the World Cup earlier this year and subsequently withdrew his name from the Mzansi Super League draft, has joined Cape Town Blitz for a part of the MSL as a batting consultant. Amla will be with Blitz for their first two matches on November 8 and 10 before he leaves to play in the Abu Dhabi T10 League, and will then rejoin the squad after November 25.
Amla is the sixth former South Africa international to join the MSL's coaching staff after Mark Boucher (Spartans), Gary Kirsten (Heat), Eric Simons and Robin Peterson (Giants) and Ashwell Prince (Blitz), and is understood to be offering his services without charge.
"There's been a lot of comments about lack of our former national players involved in the game, so I approached him and he was very open to the idea," Prince said. "He is a unique guy. I don't think he is charging us a penny for his services which is very rare these days.
"The Blitz have quite a few exciting young players in the batting department and to have him share some of his knowledge and ideas will be invaluable. He is also very calm. Faiek (Davids, assistant coach) and myself will bring the other side. Hashim brings that calmness to the environment as well."
Among the squad's young batsmen are Janneman Malan, a 23-year-old opener, whose name is being mentioned as a possible future international, Marques Ackermann, a promising left-hander based in Durban, and wicketkeeper-batsman David Bedingham.
Moeen Ali, who signed for the team for their first two matches, and is a long-time friend of Amla's, believes Amla could make a big impression on hopefuls such as these three. "As a young player, when someone like Hashim comes and puts his arm around you, even for just to have a little five minute chat, that's enough, to give you inspiration and confidence," Ali said.
Quinton de Kock, who will captain the franchise, has first-hand experience of Amla's impact, after opening the ODI batting alongside Amla for the bulk of his career. Amla has been a personal mentor to de Kock, who hopes others will benefit from spending time with Amla.
"I had the privilege of being out there, spending game time with him and I think I learnt things a lot quicker than most people could by experiencing all those situations with him. Hashim will know what to do. I am sure he will help where he can. He will see how he can get the best out of players, whether it's from a mental or technical point of view or just hitting more balls," de Kock said. "From a personal side, especially one-on-ones, that's what he is really good at: individual chats. There are a lot of things he has taught me. I have made a lot of mistakes in my career, he has been the one guy backing me and helping me learn from them."
Amla played his last competitive game at the World Cup - against Sri Lanka on June 28 - and has since signed with Surrey on a two-year Kolpak deal. His's T20 career ran for 154 matches, in which he scored 4284 runs at a strike rate of 126.14. He played 44 T20Is, the last of them in August 2018, scoring 1277 runs at a strike rate of 132.05.