23rd Jan, 2024

“Our batters just one innings away from cracking it”: Hashim Amla

By MI Cape Town Media

From slight batting worries, to the decision to bowl first at the toss in Newlands, to breaking down the reason behind Ryan Rickelton’s success, to the plan for the next game, here’s Hashim Amla having an extensive chat the post-match press conference after the loss against Durban’s Super Giants on Tuesday (January 24). Excerpts .. 

Thoughts on opting to chase under lights

I think it didn't get worse to chase. We just didn't manage to find any rhythm with the bat and build any partnerships that could get us there. I mean, we would have taken bowling first. It was not a really big score and the wicket played pretty decently. 

Message to Dewald Brevis

Message to him is very clear. Firstly, to assess the situation, get himself in. He's a very powerful youngster as well. He can hit sixes, can take the game forward. Probably the game today panned out in that manner. But unfortunately, there were not enough partnerships in the middle to set the game up for that kind of onslaught towards the back end. He didn't have a struggle to get runs in the last couple of games. He looked more promising today, getting himself in. Yeah, so that's been the messaging to him. Obviously, we'll back him because he's a really exciting cricketer who can win matches. 

Pressure on the middle-order because the openers had a rare failure?

Yeah, well, it’s a catch-22, when you have such a quality opening stand in first four games, it doesn't give the rest of the batting lineup time at the crease, and doesn't allow them time to get runs under their belt. And so be it. I mean, you're rather heavy that way because obviously you want the partnership up front. So having had that and it has now put responsibility on to rally around and unfortunately we haven't managed to do that. 

But the guys are just one-innings away from cracking it. Paarl obviously got a bit tougher to bat on. And this wicket, I think, was pretty fair. So obviously we just need to get the runs on the board, certainly in the middle order. You can't expect the openers all the time, although it's been amazing what they have produced. But it's giving another guys opportunity to stand up corner, Livi (Livingstone), Polly (Pollard) as well. And one of the great things is Sam Curran is kind of taking that mantle, obviously as the left-hander in the order. And he's managed to keep the batting a bit stable. So he's done a great job coming in. 

On the possibility of losing players in the second half of the tournament

Well, we've been very fortunate. We haven't lost a lot of players. And the squad is pretty much staying the same, which is great for us. We certainly believe in consistency. And that's why the team hasn't changed much over the last six games. So it doesn't affect us a hell of a lot, which is good. Giving people consistency and giving the batters and the bowlers time to kind of get into the competition is very important to us. And that's why we've stuck to that kind of system, certainly with the batting order as well. 

Thoughts on bringing in another batter in place of an all-rounder

I don’t think we have many all-rounders. Not sure if Sunrisers is that spinning track that it used to be. Best that we get there and decide what is the wicket is like before tinkering with the batting order. 

On South African youngsters taking up wrist-spin

I hope it inspires youngsters to take up left-arm and right-arm wrist spin in cricket. These wrist spinners are very valuable and are match winners. The fact that we have Kaber playing, his journey has been an amazing one to come into this arena and perform. Robin Peterson had a lot of belief in him and has worked a lot with him. Shamsi has been performing for the last ten years, before him Imran Tahir inspired wrist spin. I hope it plays its part and more South Africans develop that art. It will be good for T20 cricket. 

On his role during these tough times with the batters 

In the dugout, Robbie Peterson and I strategize what the best way is for us to win the match. Once we come up with a consensus, we move out to the middle and tell it to the batters. As long as the message is clear, obviously things change as the match goes on, but we believe in pooling our ideas together and coming up with the best plan. 

On Ryan Rickelton’s solid run in this season

He is a hardworker, in all facets of the game, batting, wicket-keeping. He is an intelligent cricket. I have had the good fortune of working with him at the Lions as well. He is a Test cricketer, and finds a way of scoring runs, the way he scores runs. We saw in the first four games that he played in a positive manner. He is a strong lad who can hit sixes. He is a six-hitter, he is putting his hand up to represent SA in the white-ball game. He is a selfless cricketer. You know batting in the powerplay is not easy because you can lose your wicket. He’s a lovely guy to have in the team because of all that. 

Strategy behind sticking with the same team 

Every strategic move can backfire. We have kept things consistent for six games. I’d say four of those games, our batting has been good because of the top-order. We believe it will work, which is why we go with this strategy. Allows people to go with a  lot of intent and aggression. 

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