Hashim Amla, the only South African to score a triple century in Tests (311* vs England at Oval in 2012), announced his retirement from international cricket, just days after fast bowler Dale Steyn said he was quitting Tests. Amla, 36, said he was retiring from all international cricket after a 15-year career during which he hit 55 centuries in 349 matches across all formats.
An elegant right-handed top order batsman, Amla overcame a shaky start in international cricket, during which his technique was criticised, to become one of South Africa’s all-time leading batsmen. Amla scored 9,282 runs at an average of 46.64 in 124 Test matches and 8,113 at 49.46 in 181 one-day internationals. He also made 1,277 runs in 44 Twenty20 internationals at an average of 33.60. He hit 28 centuries in Tests and 27 in One-Day Internationals. His Test tally included four double centuries.
Amla said he thanked “the fans for energising me when times were tough, and for celebrating with me when we succeeded together”. Amla made his Test debut against India in Kolkata in 2004/05, scoring 24 and 2. In the same season he played in two matches of South Africa’s home series against England but was dropped after scoring only 36 runs in four innings.
Some critics believed that his backlift, which took his bat out at an angle of close to 45 degrees, was a flaw which would prevent him from having a successful international career. He modified his technique, although still retaining a distinctive loop in his backlift, and returned to Test cricket 15 months later with his first century, 149 against New Zealand. He became an ever-present in the South African team after that.
His early struggles were recalled in a tweet by former teammate AB de Villiers. “So many doubted u early on, but your fighting spirit, humility & incredible one of a kind talent took u to the top of the mountain,” said De Villiers. Initially regarded as a Test specialist, Amla only made his ODI debut only in 2008 but soon proved that classic stroke play, mainly as an opening batsman, was as effective as power hitting in limited overs.