PSL among world’s top T20 leagues; says Hashim Amla

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RAWALPINDI: Who has been the most self-effacing among all international cricketers of the 21st Century? The answer to this query is probably simple because the majority would definitely cast their votes in favour of former batting great Hashim Amla.

After announcing retirement from the international arena last August just weeks following his country’s embarrassing preliminary-round exit from the ICC World Cup, Amla has been busy globetrotting across various franchise-based leagues.

The affable South Africa legend — who turns 37 on March 31 — has been engaged by 2017 Pakistan Super League champion side Peshawar Zalmi as their batting mentor for the ongoing fifth edition.

In an exclusive interview with Dawn, Amla candidly speaks of challenges of the PSL V during his current trip to Pakistan, and reminiscent about the glittering international career.

“I was at the Bangladesh Premier League when Mohammad Akram [Peshawar Zalmi head coach] relayed a message whether I could join the team as role of batting mentor. Personally I felt it would be a good opportunity for me to see what PSL is like and grow both as a person and a player-cum-coach, albeit initially as a player but in the end the offer acceptable to me was to become the batting mentor,” Amla said. “The reason I wanted to be part [of PSL] to keep working on my skills because I’m still playing in different leagues.”

Commenting the Peshawar Zalmi squad, Amla observed: “It is a wonderful squad and in terms of experience, we’ve got some fantastic players such as Shoaib Malik and [Darren] Sammy and good crop of youngsters too there.

“Haider Ali is an exceptionally talented young guy. And then we have Imam-ul-Haq against whom I played quite a few times and Umar Amin, who is not a newcomer but still a very good batsman, plus a few others young Pakistani exciting players. I’m really enjoying working with them. I think we got a good nucleus and Peshawar Zalmi can go all the way since they had been doing very well [in reaching three finals on the trot] and have good history to back them.”

Amla singled out Tom Banton as a quality player among the foreign contingent and rated the 21-year-old from English county Buckinghamshire town of Chiltern as a very good signing by the franchise.