Amla is hoping to help the Trinbago Knight Riders – formerly known as the Trinidad Red Steel before being bought by Indian Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan who also owns the Kolkata Knight Riders – get their CPL title defence off to a rollicking start when they face the St Lucia Zouks at the Queen’s Park Oval on Wednesday evening.
“I’m very fortunate starting the CPL to have had the last three weeks already here (in the Caribbean) playing at most of the venues that I’m going to be playing in the CPL,” Amla said at the official launch of the new TKR jersey in Trinidad.
“It’s the first time that I’ve been involved in this competition and just from all the chat with the Trinidad people, everybody’s really confident and hoping that it’s a great start for us. Certainly, being champions last year, we’ll be trying to defend that. It’s been a lovely few days since I’ve been with the boys.”
Besides Amla, the tournament opener will have a distinctive South African flavour to it with TKR being coached by the legendary Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis. The Zouks will also be able to call on Amla’s South African teammates Morne Morkel, David Miller and leg-spinner Eddie Leie.
“Those two guys (Morkel and Miller) are two guys I’ve spent a lot of time with in the South African team. It would be lovely to play against them. I have played a couple of times in the domestic teams back home, and though it will be as much fun as possible, each one of us will want to come out on top, certainly from a team perspective,” Amla said.
“But, regardless, it’s going to be a great atmosphere. Everybody’s been talking about how Trinidad is one of the best atmospheric grounds in the whole of the CPL, so it’s something that I’m really looking forward to experiencing. And I’m sure that Morne and Davy will enjoy it just as much.”
Amla will most likely open the batting with former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum. This could be a potentially explosive opening partnership with the recently-retired McCullum boasting the most amount runs in the history of T20 International cricket. McCullum tops the list with 2140 runs at an average of 35.66, but more importantly at a blazing strike-rate of 136.21.
Although a late bloomer in the shortest format of the game, Amla is making rapid strides and is certainly transforming his form and class from the other two formats to T20 cricket. He currently has 1008 T20 International runs at 31.66 and an equally impressive strike-rate of 129.06, which is higher than his Proteas teammate Quinton de Kock (128.37).
“Sport is a wonderful means and medium to make many friends around the world and, as I said, with the guys I’ve played against we have had many battles on the field, to now share a changing room with them and share the good times, hopefully, is something that I’m really looking forward to,” Amla said of joining a team that has the dynamic talents of McCullum, West Indian duo Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine and Pakistan’s Umar Akmal at its disposal.
FULL TRINBAGO KNIGHT RIDERS SQUAD
Dwayne Bravo (captain), Brendon McCullum, Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine, Hashim Amla, Umar Akmal, Kevon Cooper, Sulieman Benn, Colin Munro, Anton Devcich, Ronsford Beaton, Nikita Miller, Javon Searles, William Perkins, Yannick Cariah, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Hamza Tariq, Anderson Phillip. - Independent Media
Original source: Amla relishing CPL challenge