India vs South Africa: Amla throws weight behind struggling Proteas

The du Plessis-led side may have lost the three-match Test series 2-0 but former South African batting great Hashim Amla feels the team will find its feet soon enough.

Hashim Amla: "The team will take time to rebuild. If you look back, all teams go through a transitional phase and we are going through the same."   -  GETTY IMAGES

The Proteas in India are fast sinking. A misfiring top-order and a bowling unit that is yet to take 20 wickets have resulted in the Faf du Plessis-led side losing the three-match Test series 2-0.

It was bound to be a testing tour for interim coach Enoch Nkwe and the losses in Visakhapatnam and Pune have not only dented his confidence but that of the entire South African contingent.

But, the visitor has found backing in South African batting great Hashim Amla. "It's time for the rebuilding of the South African team," said Amla during the Abu Dhabi T10 League draft.

Asked if he would consider coming out of retirement, given that he is fit and actively participating in professional cricket, Amla said: "No, I don't think I will do that. As I told earlier, I have enjoyed my journey with the South African team and I am really happy with my decision. It's time for youngsters."

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Rebuilding Process

"A few of us who have played for almost 10 years have walked away from the international scene. So the team will take time to rebuild. If you look back, all teams go through a transitional phase and we are going through the same," said Amla, who remains the only South African cricketer to score a triple century in Test cricket. 

The strips offered in Visakhapatnam and Pune were traditional Indian surfaces with plenty of runs in the first half and turn later. However, South Africa was rolled over by a relentless outfit.

While the South African bowling has been toothless, the performance of the batting group has been equally concerning.

"Given the backing, support and confidence of the current players the team will find its feet again and become a quality team," Amla said.

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Onus on young guns

With stalwarts Amla, AB de Villiers - to name a few - not around anymore, the likes of Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock and Du Plessis share bulk of the batting responsibility.

While Elgar and De Kock posted centuries in the first Test, Du Plessis with a couple of fifties has kept the batting afloat. However, the likes of Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn have failed to make an impact.

Amla, however, believes that the youngsters should be given time.

"International experience is such a thing that you can only get that type of knowledge in international cricket after two or three years. You got to afford those players the time," said the South African who scored more than 18,000 runs across formats with 55 centuries in 349 matches. 

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'Mind-boggling 90 minutes match'

Wednesday night saw a constellation of cricketing stars descending on Abu Dhabi for the players draft and Karnataka Tuskers roped in Amla as its icon player.

“I grew up watching all the legends present here. The lovely thing about T10 is that you cannot afford to leave a ball outside off-stump. You have to hit every ball. It is mind-boggling to have a 90-minute match,” Amla said.

When asked how different the T10 format would be from T20, the South African said: "It's very different indeed. Certainly for me, playing T10 for the first time. Probably the last time I played was 20-30 years ago in my backyard with my brother and friends."

Representing Tuskers, Amla is hopeful that the T10 format would be as successful as T20s.

"It's a fantastic format and the game has changed over the last years and it's a matter of time T10 becomes the next big thing."

The writer is in Abu Dhabi at the invitation of Abu Dhabi T10 League