An elegant, stroke-filled player blessed with the temperament to make the most of his talent, Hashim Amla is the first South African of Indian descent to reach the national squad - his grandparents migrated from Gujarat - and he shares the penchant for wristy leg-side flicks that ooze off his bat.
His elevation to the South Africa side was a poorly kept secret after he reeled off four centuries in his first eight innings of the 2004-05 season, after being appointed captain of the Dolphins (formerly Natal) at the tender age of 21. His older brother by four years, Ahmed, made his first-class debut two seasons before Hashim, but there is little doubt that the younger Amla is the better player.
He is also a devout Muslim whose requests to have logos promoting alcohol removed from his playing gear have been successful so far. Amla toured New Zealand with the South African Under-19 team in 2000-01, he captained South Africa at the 2002 Under-19 World Cup, and after starring for the A team, made his Test debut against India in 2004-05.
He was not an instant success, with serious questions emerging about his technique as he mustered 36 runs in four innings against England later that season.