Hashim Amla scored more runs across all formats than any other player in the month of July. With 455 runs in seven innings and three hundreds across all formats, Amla was the best and most valuable batsman over the course of the month's 31 days.
But he wasn’t the only batsman to impress during this time. Gary Ballance, Murali Vijay and Angelo Mathews were all important players for their teams. Here is a list of the top five run-scorers across all formats for the month of July.
|Most runs across all format for July 2014|
|Hashim Amla (SA)||5||7||1||455||139*||3||0|
|Gary Ballance (Eng)||3||5||0||402||156||2||1|
|Murali Vijay (India)||3||6||0||364||146||1||2|
|Angelo Mathews (SL)||5||7||2||347||89||0||4|
|AB de Villiers (SA)||5||7||0||333||108||1||2|
Selecting the best batsman of July was a precarious task. England and India have only played Tests this month, and both Ballance and Vijay have impressed for their teams.
Vijay has been particularly crafty at the top of the Indian order in English conditions. The 30-year-old has averaged over 60.00 on India’s tour of England already, but he has arguably not played a “match-winning” knock.
The task of selecting the best batsman of the month becomes even more tricky when looking at the Test statistics alone. Ajinkya Rahane has settled into his lower-order role nicely, and Angelo Mathews features in the top run-getters, too.
|Top run scorers in Tests, July 2014|
|Gary Ballance (Eng)||3||5||0||402||156||80.4||2||1|
|Murali Vijay (India)||3||6||0||364||146||60.66||1||2|
|Joe Root (Eng)||3||5||1||292||154*||73||1||2|
|AM Rahane (India)||3||6||1||270||103||54||1||2|
|AD Mathews (SL)||2||4||2||242||89||121||0||3|
Despite the fact that Amla does not feature in this list, picking the batsman of the month considers more aspects than simply the number of runs scored in a certain time period.
His impact for South Africa was evident in the one-day series and the Test series against Sri Lanka. In the ODIs, he scored two hundreds to help propel South Africa to their first-ever ODI series win in the country.
Despite not being able to make it three hundreds on the trot in the ODIs, Amla’s impact with the bat was immense throughout the series.
It takes a special kind of player to be able to score such a vast number of runs, especially in conditions where foreign batsmen are known to struggle.
Amla was also picked because of his impact in the Test series. His first Test outing as captain didn't go so well with the bat, scoring just 11 and 22, but it is when Amla was really under pressure that he stood out.
South Africa were in desperate need of a rearguard special in the second Test, and their captain provided that. His unbeaten 139 for which he laboured over eight overs for, helped South Africa to take time out of the Test to get back to some sort of steady ground.
Amla kept his head, while all around him his team-mates were losing theirs. In the second innings, he didn't manage many runs, scoring just 25, but once again it was the amount of time Amla spent at the crease that made his impact so important.
His efforts have also earned him a rise in the ICC's batting rankings. Although those should be taken with a pinch of salt, Amla's efforts to help South Africa save the Test in Colombo are undeniable.
Overall, no other batsman solely impacted the fate of their team as much as Amla impacted South Africa's, and that is why he is the batsman of the month for July 2014.