"I can't change people's perceptions, people's prejudices"
© Getty Images
"I can't change people's perceptions, people's prejudices" © Getty Images
Hashim Amla is a South African batsman, which is a tangle of identities in itself. In his profile of Amla for the Cricket Monthly, writer Niren Tolsi tries to unravel some of them within the context of race, masculinity, multi-culturalism and prejudice. Six quotes from Amla here give you a glimpse of the person he is:
On experiencing racism
"I'll say this: you go through your difficulties, and most of the difficulties I experienced was after school… At club level and at certain times in professional cricket, certainly growing up and earlier on, the more naïve you are to these things, the more I look back, I think, 'Actually, ja, you know [the racism] was crazy'."
"Being a bit older now, I can see how other players go through these difficulties [of racism masked as cricketing criticism], and I went through a similar thing… When Temba got that hundred, it was not a surprise to me because I knew this guy is a quality player. It was a nice feeling to know that other people knew it now. I didn't need convincing, but others certainly did."
On the changing identity of the South African team
"… the South African team identity is going to evolve with the country, and the country wants to express itself.
"This is how I see it: when you express yourself you are going a little bit out of the box, and when you do go out the box, people who view things in that box will be like 'Heeeyyy! Come back, come back, it's dangerous out there. There are lions, you know, you are in Africa, you know.'"
On how he views himself
"Why box yourself? I'm a father. I'm a son. I am a brother. I am a South African… with heritage from India. Those are just the simple things…"
"I try and be who I like to be and let the rest take care of itself. I can't change people's perceptions, people's prejudices. The word prejudice itself comes from 'prejudge', so if people want to prejudge, so be it…"
On being a Ricky Ponting fan (and asking him for a hug after his final Test)
"I watched him, the way he dominated, and I just really loved the way he played, so his last game - I had been privileged to play a few matches against him and watched him smash a couple of hundreds against us here and there - so when it was his last game, I was happy he got out because we won the Test match, but I was sad because I won't be watching this absolutely wonderful batsman ever again."
Amla also talks more about the South African identity, his school days in Durban, and reading CLR James' Beyond the Boundary in the feature.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.