Hashim Amla has been on a roll in 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). He is one of the four centurions in this edition, apart from being the most consistent batsman for Kings XI Punjab.
With 315 runs in eight matches, Amla is among the top-scorers. Yet, he has not deviated from playing proper cricketing shots to achieve those runs – a habit that would not leave, according to him.
Known for his elegant style, Amla, among many others, has shown that it’s not always necessary to run after the unconventional to succeed in the shortest format. He is appreciative of the impact of T20 on fans, yet acknowledges the growing tendency among players to leave their national teams for franchise leagues as a concern.
As his team gears up for the final rounds of matches in the league stage of IPL, Amla talks about his take on the changes in T20 cricket and its impact.
Q. You have seen T20 since it started gaining prominence. How do you think it has changed?
A: There is lot more strategy involved now. When it started, there was no experience to strategise. But now more strategy has come based on the history. That has been the biggest change. Earlier, everyone thought they have to hit every ball for a boundary. Now teams have realised that’s necessarily not the way to win a game and do it consistently.
As the years go on, you understand the format a little bit better and understand your own game. Over the years, I have tried to find what is best for me with the way I bat. This edition has been good so far.
Q: The growth of T20 has also meant that cricketers giving preference to franchise leagues over national teams. What’s your take?
A: We will probably see T20’s impact even more as the years go by. The positive side is that it has increased the fans’ desire to see the game a lot.
It has also brought some challenges as most cricket boards would say. But every board has their own circumstances to deal with. The impact has been there. There is no doubt about it. There have been positives and also challenges that have come with it.
Q: You have been part of other franchise leagues as well. How do you think IPL is different?
A: It is a lot more busy here. In this edition of the IPL, the games have been pretty tightly scheduled considering the travel and the playing days. It does take toll mentally and physically. However, the crowds are brilliant here and got to all the matches.
Q: Coming to your team, KXIP are placed fifth in the points table. How do you see your position?
A: Next few matches are vitally important to make it to the playoffs. There are a couple of teams on equal pints in the table, which is exciting. Our preparation is good and we’ll give ourselves the best chance to qualify for the next stage.
Q: Consider your style of batting, has opening helped you in scoring consistently?
A: Yes, I think batting in the top three does allow the opportunity to play normal cricket shots and still get value as the field is up. Some of the grounds in India are small and field is quick. It allows you to set it up for the guys at the end who may not be as technically correct.
Q: Players like Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli also play T20 cricket in the same way. How do you see their style?
A: I don’t think my views are necessary when guys like Kane Williamson, Virat are scoring runs. They have the quality to clear the ropes when needed but by and large through good cricketing shots. Some of the grounds in India are bit smaller and are fast and help in the shots that we play.