South Africa batting star Hashim Amla could be set to renew his acquaintance with Essex in 2011 – at least for a short time.
The 27 year-old is high on the wanted list as the county prepare to start their season back in Division Two with the prospect of missing three players to the Indian Premier League.
Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah and Ryan ten Doeschate have all thrown their names into the auction ring for that competition and their absence from the start of the domestic season would seriously impact on the county’s chances of a successful start to the six-month long campaign.
Quoted on the website www.thisistotalessex.co.uk, Essex head coach Paul Grayson admitted that discussions had taken place with the player regarding a return.
“We have spoken to Amla and his agent about coming back next season but it’s early days,” he said. “We don’t know until the (IPL) auction exactly what we are going to do.
“There are a few players about, but he is definitely one we are looking at and are talking to. When you look at the players we might be losing it makes sense to go for a batsman, but of course one that’s not going to be involved in the IPL.”
Amla spent part the early weeks of last season with Nottinghamshire but is reportedly keen to return to Essex where he would ideally fill the breach vacated by the trio of IPL-bound players.
He first appeared for Essex in July 2009 when drafted in as an interim replacement for Danish Kaneria while the leg-spinner was on international duty with Pakistan and the stylish batsman wasted little time in making his mark, scoring two centuries in his first three matches including a new county record score of 181 on debut.
Essex will now wait until the IPL auction takes place in Delhi early next month before making further advances to secure the short-term return of the run-hungry Durban-born batsman.