Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis believes that veteran batsman Hashim Amla could be the last Proteas player to feature in 100 Test matches.
Amla will accomplish the feat in the third Test against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Furthermore, Amla will be just the eighth South African player in history to feature in 100 Test matches after Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Graeme Smith, Shaun Pollock, AB de Villiers, Gary Kirsten and Makhaya Ntini.
While Du Plessis feels that wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and pace bowler Kagiso Rabada have a chance of reaching the milestone as well, he admitted that it will be extremely difficult considering the amount of limited overs cricket that is played nowadays, along with the rise of domestic Twenty20 competitions like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League (BBL).
“It is a massive milestone, I am going to make a big call and say that Hash is probably going to be the last guy that plays a 100 Test matches for South Africa because of the way the game is changing,” Du Plessis said. “KG (Kagiso Rabada) and Quinny (Quinton de Kock) is possible looking at that as youngsters, but that is a long way into the future so for me a 100 Test matches is an amazing effort.
“I know it is a massive call but the game has evolved so much and if you look at guys like Hashim, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, and Graeme Smith there was a period of a lot of Test cricket that was played over a long period of time.”
Amla is without a doubt one of the greatest batsmen South Africa have ever produced and he is also the first player from the country to score a triple century in Test cricket, which he accomplished with his knock of 311 not out against England at The Oval in July 2012.
Despite having 25 Test centuries and 31 fifties to his name in the longest format, Du Plessis admitted that the Durban native’s greatest quality is the fact that he doesn’t seek the limelight.
“True to Hash’s character it is another game for him, he doesn’t want any shine or attention towards him, he just wants to rock up and play another game of cricket,” Du Plessis said.
As of late though, Amla has hit a rough patch of form with the bat as he failed to score a fifty in his last 10 Test innings, but Du Plessis is confident the 33-year-old will bounce back sooner rather than later.
“He offers a lot off the field and that is why in terms of performances it is just a temporary thing and we know Hash will be one knock away from scoring 200 again,” he said. “Whether he is scoring runs or not, he is the exact same person, that brings a calmness to the dressing room.
“Off the park he is a great guy to have in your team, as a leader he is an asset to me, I rely on his knowledge a lot.”