Hashim Amla did the honorable thing by resigning

Hashim Amla did the honorable thing by resigning

Leading a side in international cricket is one of the toughest jobs to do as it requires extra special effort to be successful at the highest level. South Africa was a top notch in Test cricket under the leadership of Graeme Smith but the same didn’t happened in his successors reign. Hashim Amla, the technically gifted batsman, announced his resignation from the post after the recently held second Test match against England.

 

“Naturally this decision is not an easy one but the more I think about it the more I believe I can be of greater value to the Proteas as a fully focused batsman and senior player at this time of rebuilding our team,” said Amla. “I felt someone else could do a better job. I made my decision two weeks before the first Test against England. This decision was not an easy one to make but I felt I needed to be true to myself,” he added. Amla took over from Graeme Smith in June 2014, overseeing four wins, six draws and four defeats in 14 Tests. But after eight Tests without a win, and a 3-0 defeat in India, the pressure had increased in South Africa and led to suggestions his placid nature meant he was not suited to the role. “My leadership style, with a young team, meant I felt someone else could do a better job,” he said, “but there is no particular inci- dent that led to this decision.

 

Sometimes you get criticism but I always felt growing up that you tend to get a thick skin and know which has value in it.” The news, announced when Cook was speaking to the media after the drawn Test, surprised the England captain, with three of his predecessors – Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain – having all resigned following defeats at the hands of South Africa. “It’s a shock,” Cook said. “I haven’t got anything to say, really. He played an outstanding captain’s knock in this Test match. It’s normally an England captain that goes against South Africa. I’ve outlasted a South African captain.” The appointment of Amla as Test captain did raised eyebrows as AB de Villiers was the most suited one at that point of time and the player himself had expressed his dissatisfaction over the matter.

 

However, despite this, Amla deserves credit for taking up the role after the retirement of Smith. He could have said no if he had his way as Amla earlier left the ODI vice captaincy because of pressure on his batting. Without any doubt, he is one of the best batsmen in the world across formats and can play match winning and saving innings continuously. The right hand batsman is one player who is ready to do any sort of job for his team and this is what has made him special. Replacing Smith, who won 53 Tests out of 108, was always going to be tough and Amla has learned the lesson in a hard way. His first test as captain was against Sri Lanka that too on the turning tracks of Asia. Amla was expected to lead from the front and boy he did a superb job as a player and captain. The South Africans went on to win the two-matches series 1-0. He scored 197 runs from the two tourneys and was hailed by everyone for his captaincy.

 

The superlative performance continued against Zimbabwe and West Indies. The pressure of leading a side was nowhere to be seen as he was scoring runs as well. After a drawn series against Bangladesh because of weather, the Proteas were given a tough task of playing in India in a four match Test series. Prior to this, Amla was in awful touch in the ODIs and T20 international against India. South Africa’s nine-year unbeaten away run was on the line as everyone knew that India will prepare rank turners. Barring Amla and AB de Villiers, the Proteas had inexperienced batting line-up and their bowling resources were further depleted when Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander were ruled out of the series after the first Test match, which was comprehensively won by Team India.

 

As expected, the Indian spinners created a havoc as South Africa went on to lose the four match series 0-3 without offering any resistance. Amla was seen struggling throughout the series and was hardly able to perform as a batsman and captain. This was the blow which he couldn’t take it and the loss to England in the first Test gave him the sinking feeling. He did score a magnificent double hundred in the second Test against the visiting team but the pain of losing in India and then the first Test against England was way beyond his capability and he took this step. Apart from this, he knows that AB de Villiers will be able to lead South Africa properly as he has done in the ODIs. He is a suitable successor for Amla, who has always spoken his heart about players and the performance of the team. Cricket has been brutal to even great performers as far as captaincy is concerned and Amla is the latest example of this.

 

However, he has done a commendable job by leaving the post after losing only few matches. There are players who have held on to their captaincy role despite not so good results and this has led to further damage. MS Dhoni, the former Indian captain, is the perfect example. On the other hand, Amla has realized his shortcomings in a shorter span of time. South Africa as a team need Amla in top form across formats and the current situation would surely help them in seeing him in top touch.



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