LAHORE: It is certainly something very rare, for any cricketer to hear the opposition crowd chanting and cheering his name and must be surprising as well. Lahoris, during the first two matches of Independence Cup between Pakistan and World XI, did the same to surprise South African run-machine Hashim Amla.
Amla, one of the five South African cricketers touring Pakistan with World XI, was greeted by fans at Gaddafi Stadium with loud cheers as he stepped in. The crowd cheered for him loudly even when he was steering the second T20I away from the home team, Pakistan.
“I have never experienced that and I think most of the players have their name shouted out by the crowd at one stage or the other, it was quite surprising.” Amla told media after the 2nd T20I in Lahore on Wednesday.
“But, the crowd support has been great here,” he added.
The South African batsman smashed two sixes and stroked five fours to score an unbeaten 72 to guide World XI to a seven-wicket win against Pakistan.
Amla said that his experience of being in Lahore has been wonderful and he is happy to be part of the World XI squad which is touring Pakistan.
“Experience here has been fantastic, I speak for all the World XI players because we have been looked after really well,” he said.
“The hospitality and warmth we received from the general public has been overwhelming, we are happy that we came,” added the 34-year-old former captain.
The veteran of 107 Tests and 156 ODIs said he and other South African players will share their respective experiences with Cricket South Africa after returning from Pakistan.
“I am sure when all five of us go back, the SA board will probably ask us about our experience here. And we all will be honest that we had a great experience,” Amla said when a journalist asked if he would try to convince other players for visiting Pakistan.
“But I am sure there are a lot of other things that are going to be in place. It is not up to us, we will give our feedback and leave it to our boards and everybody else to decide,” he said.
The South African batsman added that the intensity of the matches are just as much as can be expected in any other international match.