The classiest, calmest man on a cricket field, Hashim Amla’s name is etched in South African cricket history. With his wristy leg-side flick and serene cover drive, Amla became the first South African to score a triple century in Test cricket, while also effectively shifting gears to become the fastest batsman to 2,000 (40 innings), 3,000 (57 innings), 4,000 (81 innings) and 5,000 (101 innings) runs in ODI cricket.
Amla’s career began at Durban High School, the alma mater of Lance Klusener and Barry Richards, and a world away from his brother, Ahmed. Just four years apart, they grew up on either side of the Apartheid divide, which meant that Ahmed went to a school for the previously disadvantaged, while Amla was afforded better opportunity at a more prestigious institution.
After a successful school career, Amla toured New Zealand with the South African Under-19 team in 2000-01 and captained them at the 2002 Under-19 World Cup. After reeling off four centuries in his first eight innings of the 2004-05 season – in which he was also appointed, and stepped down as, Dolphins captain – he was picked to play for South Africa against India.
He was not an instant success, with serious questions emerging about his technique and his back lift, in particular, as he mustered 36 runs in four innings against England later that season.
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