TELFORD VICE, Perth
NO-ONE could accuse Hashim Amla of not living in the moment, even if the concept of the now is difficult to apply to a man capable of batting for days without raising a sweat.
So you have to wonder how much faster Albert Einstein might have been able to arrive at his theory of relativity had he watched Amla compress and stretch time and space seemingly at will.
It took Einstein almost 10 years to come up with E=mc2. Amla needed less than a second on Monday to dismiss the theory that SA’s test series victories in Australia in 2008-09 and 2012-13 had significant bearing on the rubber that starts at the WACA in Perth on Thursday.
“Those things happened four years ago and eight years ago,” Amla said. “They are already far in the past.
“We can only to a certain degree take the experience and the memories from those series.
“But the game is going to be played on day one and day two and day three and day four and day five.
“That’s where the cricket is. It’s not eight years ago.”
Amla also put a bullet through the balloon of bluster about targetting key players that has become a focus of the pre-series prattle.
“Before every series there’s always the same questions,” he said. “We got asked about David Warner and Steve Smith.
“There’s always going to be two guys you are going to be asked about in the opposition and you are going to say, ‘Ja, we’ve got to get these guys out’. But both teams have got really good batsmen.
“We’ve got to get 20 wickets to win the test match, they’ve got to get 20 wickets to win the test match.
“So I don’t look too far into it.
“I know in our batting order we’ve got guys who can make an impact at any stage of the game, and that’s a really wonderful thing to have in the team.”
At the crease Amla deflects the ball more than he gives it a meaty belt in the manner of, say, Quinton de Kock.
The same tends to apply at press conferences.
Amla considers questions carefully and caresses them out of the path of any possible controversy.
He avoids saying what could be construed as the wrong thing with the same deftness he brings to making his strokes avoid fielders.
De Kock smacks questions back from whence they come with, it would seem, not a thought that what he has just said could easily be bent out of shape to fit almost any headline.
But on Monday Amla spoke with a refreshing directness that rippled through the gathered reporters in a way not dissimilar to a ball De Kock has dismissed for six rattling the screws clean out of a boundary board.
“On any given day somebody can win the game for the team or put the team in a good position,” Amla said.
“We all want to be that guy every day. Every time we bat I want to be the guy doing it.”
Amla knew this long before he said it. We knew he knew it long before he said it.
Now that he has said it, the relativity of time and space could soon be more than a theory.
Amla has the time and the WACA is the space.
What will happen when they collide?