South African batsman Hashim Amla honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga for contribution in sports

South African batsman Hashim Amla was honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga on 24 April by the South African government for his contribution in the field of sports.

The Order of Ikhamanga is one of the national honours issued by the President of South Africa. It seeks to acknowledge South Africans who have succeeded in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. Amla is the first Proteas batsman to win the award after former Proteas fast bowlers Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini were both honoured in 2008.

A crisp Hashim Amla cover drive. Credit: Associated Press

A former Test captain of the Proteas, Amla remains the only South African to have ever scored a triple century in Test cricket, thereby holding the record for the highest score by a South African batsman.

“Grateful to the Most High for the accolade. Also blessed to have my parents, family, friends and teachers along the way to help me navigate through life and sport,” Amla posted on social media on Tuesday.

Amla was named as a silver award recipient by the Chancellor of National Orders, Dr Cassius Lubisi, who explained that the batsman is being honoured “for his contribution to the sport of cricket. He has brought pride to our country with his many batting firsts in the international cricket arena and remains one of the leading batsmen of our time.”

Amla, 35, has played 117 Tests, 164 ODIs, and 43 T20Is – with 17794 international runs against his name. He also holds the record for the highest individual score by a South African: an unbeaten 311 against England at The Oval.

“He has brought pride to our country with his many batting firsts in the international cricket arena and remains one of the leading batsmen of our time,” said Lubisi.

After being named in the honours list, the 35-year-old, who is currently playing for Hampshire on the English County Championship circuit, dedicated the award to the people of South Africa. 

Prior to Amla receiving the award, Shaun Pollock, South Africa’s leading Test wicket-taker, and Makhaya Ntini, the first black African to play Test cricket for South Africa, were named as Order of Ikhamanga recipients in 2008. The trio are the only cricketers to be named for the order during their playing days.