Hashim Amla

Protea batsman

Twenty-ten was the year that Hashim Amla made good on his potential as a top-order batsman for the Proteas, with a series of stellar performances that catapulted him to number two in the ICC test rankings. It began with his career-best 253 not out in the first test against India, at Nagpur, which was soon followed with centuries in each innings in the second test, at Eden Gardens. Born in Durban in 1983 Hash, as he is affectionately called by his teammates and fans, paid his dues at the Nashua Dolphins before breaking into the Proteas' test team in 2004 during the tour of India. He has since notched up a whopping 43 test caps, to become South Africa's number-one batsman. Initially some believed Amla was only a test batsman and would not make it in the one-day arena. But, his performances have proved his detractors wrong and he is now considered to be an integral member of the Proteas' one-day team, winning 23 caps since his debut against Bangladesh in 2008. Amla's popularity with the team was acknowledged when his teammates selected him to replace outgoing one- day captain Graeme Smith. In true Amla style he politely declined the honour, choosing instead to concentrate on his batting. Both his humble demeanour and his beard have become a huge hit with fans, many of whom can be seen parading around cricket grounds sporting fake Amla beards as a sign of respect. Known for his impeccable manners both on and off the field, Amla is living proof that cricket can still be considered a gentleman's game. � Lloyd Gedye

Website: dolphinscricket.co.za Twitter: @Hashim_Amla