Veteran South Africa opener Hashim Amla has announced his retirement from all formats of international cricket at the age of 36.
The opening batsman will continue to be available for domestic selection and South Africa’s Mzansi Super League.
“Firstly, all glory and thanks to the Almighty for granting me this Proteas journey which has been nothing but a joy and privilege. I learnt many lessons during this incredible ride, made many friends and most importantly shared in the love of a brotherhood called Proteafire,” Amla said in a statement.
“I would like to thank my parents for their prayers, love and support, it is their shadow over me that enabled me to play for years under the Protea sun. Also, My family, friends and agent, my team mates and every member of the support staff throughout this incredible journey. A heartfelt thank you to every one of you!
#BreakingNews @amlahash today called time on one of the great international careers of the modern era when he announced his retirement from all formats of international cricket. He will continue to be available for domestic cricket as well as the Mzansi Super League. #AmlaRetires pic.twitter.com/l9qgnt0661— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) August 8, 2019
“The fans for energising me when times were tough, and for celebrating with me when we succeeded together. Siyabonga South Africa! And, of course, a very special thanks to the President and the Board at Cricket South Africa – not forgetting the Chief Executive, Thabang Moroe, and his administrative team.”
The right-handed batsman retires after a nearly 15-year international career in which he went on to make 124 Test, 181 ODI and 44 T20I appearances for the Proteas.
He has made South Africa’s only Test triple century to date and has made the highest Test scores for his country against England, India and the West Indies and the highest against Australia in the post-unity period.#ThankYouHash#ProteaFire#AmlaRetires pic.twitter.com/YuogFjUQKg— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) August 8, 2019
With 8,133 ODI runs to his name, Amla finishes his career as South Africa’s third highest run-scorer in the format and is only behind Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers.
In Test cricket, he is only behind Kallis when it comes to Proteas batsmen with 9,282 runs to his name scored with the help of 28 tons. He is also the only South African triple centurion in the format and it came in the form of an unbeaten 311 against England at the Oval in 2012.
He also managed to establish himself as the No1 Test batsman in the world for a period in 2013.
Amla’s retirement comes just on the heels of veteran South Africa pacer Dale Steyn calling time on his Test career.
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Babar Azam’s superb run in England’s T20 Blast refuses to stop with the Pakistan batsman adding another explosive half-century to his name in Somerset’s big win over the Essex Eagles on Wednesday.
Babar struck a 39-ball 56 at Chelmsford to help Somerset post a mammoth 225-6 in their 20 overs and his side then had no trouble in wrapping up a 114-run win with the ball.
With that innings, Babar has now become the leading run-scorer in the 2019 T20 Blast with a total of 323 runs from seven innings so far at an average of nearly 54.
Playing in his maiden stint in the English county circuit, the Pakistan right-hander has been nothing short of sensational in the seven T20 Blast appearances he has made for Somerset so far.
Babar had earlier struck a 61-ball 95 against Hampshire and a 50-ball 83 against Sussex but both his rapid displays had come in a losing cause for Somerset.
The star batsman has been camped in England since the start of May when Pakistan arrived in the country for a five-match ODI series. The 24-year-old finished as the joint top-scorer of the ODI series after registering one ton and two half centuries over the course of the four games.
He then proceeded to have a stellar individual World Cup campaign where he racked up a total of 474 runs in eight innings at an average of over 67. Babar struck one ton and three half-centuries in the process and his run tally is now the highest achieved by any Pakistan batsman in World Cup history.
Currently ranked No1 in the world in the T20 format, the Pakistan sensation’s immense popularity has already worked wonders for Somerset since his arrival. Somerset stream their T20 Blast clashes on their official website like many other county outfits in England but there were in for a shock during Babar’s first game for the county outfit.
With plenty of Pakistan fans logging on to the website to watch their favourite star in action, the website ultimately crashed due the excessive load. According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the huge spike in rise in visitors to the official website forced Somerset digital marketing executive Ben Warren to upgrade the website server’s capacity.
Babar is well on his way to become one of the greatest batsmen produced by Pakistan and the right-hander had recently become the second fastest man after South Africa’s Hashim Amla to bring up 3,000 ODI runs.
The Pakistan star will be next in action for Somerset on Friday when they take on Hampshire in another Vitality T20 Blast clash at Southampton.
Sri Lankan cricket was thrown into further turmoil with former pacer Rumesh Ratnayake appointed as the team’s interim coach for the upcoming Test and T20 clashes against New Zealand.
The move by the Sri Lankan board is their latest attempt to severe ties with head coach Chandika Hathurinsha whose future with the national team has been the subject of constant debate for some time now.
“Hathurusingha will not be involved in this (New Zealand) series,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Shammi Silva was quoted as saying by the Hindu.
“We can’t tell you details because this might end up being a legal issue,” he added.
Earlier this month, Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando had handed an ultimatum to Hathurusingha to quit his role before the start of the Test series against New Zealand.
“If Hathurusingha does not leave, we may have to consider legal action or offer him a different job at the board,” Fernando had said at the time.
The Sri Lankan minister’s comments had come in the wake of the 2019 World Cup in England where Dimuth Karunaratne and his men finished sixth in the 10-team competition.
Hathurusingha’s contract with SLC reportedly runs until the end of 2020 (16 more months) but Fernando has repeatedly targeted the head coach for the lack of positive results with the Sri Lankan team. The minister has time and again been critical of the Sri Lankan coach’s reported monthly salary of USD 40,000 as well.
Sri Lanka’s Test series against New Zealand is slated to begin on August 14 with the first clash set to take place at Galle. The second Test will get underway at Colombo on August 22.
Upon the completion of the two-match Test series, Sri Lanka and New Zealand will lock horns in three T20 clashes as well.