Needing an overseas player to provide cover for David Hussey in the opening weeks of the 2010 season, a stack of Championship cricket focussed Mick Newell’s recruitment plan on finding a proven Test batsman capable of scoring consistently in four day cricket.

South African right-hander Hashim Amla fitted the bill perfectly and was in prolific form throughout his country’s tour of India at the turn of the year.

An unbeaten 253 in the first Test at Nagpur and two centuries in the second Test earned him the man of the series award and his run tally of 494 with just one dismissal stands as the second highest Test series batting average of all time.

Amla represents KwaZulu Natal Dolphins in South African domestic cricket and scored 410 runs in three LV= County Championship matches for Essex last season.