Amla SA’s next Test skipper?

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iol spt may18 Hash REUTERS Hashim Amla has thrown his name into the Test captaincy hat, a highly-placed source at Cricket South Africa (CSA) said this week. Reuters/Rogan Ward

Durban: Hashim Amla has thrown his name into the Test captaincy hat, a highly-placed source at Cricket South Africa (CSA) said this week.

“It’s not two names in the hat but three now. Hashim has expressed his interest in the job,” the source said.

Previously, Amla had reservations about taking on a leading role in the side as he wanted to secure his place in the side as a batsman first. Now recognised as one of the world’s finest players, the top-order stalwart has given the selection panel some serious food for thought.

It was understood that ODI skipper AB de Villiers and his T20 international counterpart Faf du Plessis were vying to fill the role left by the retirement of Graeme Smith. While both have international experience, there are also concerns about handing them that level of responsibility.

De Villiers, undoubtedly SA’s most gifted player, has often appeared weighed down by the added pressure of captaining and trying to lead from the front with the bat, while Du Plessis is still finding his feet as a Test batsman of authority, having carved his niche as a match-saver so far.

Thus, the belated enthusiasm from Amla will be an intriguing one for Andrew Hudson and his national selection panel.

Amla, who captained the KZN Dolphins as a youngster, would bring a leadership style a world away from Smith. He is already acknowledged as a great tactical sounding board within the team, with both De Villiers and Du Plessis leaning on his experience and calm influence.

Of course, this being South Africa, a captain of colour would also appease the relentless political whistle-blowers.

But, make no mistake, making Amla the next SA Test would not be a quota call. He is the glue that holds the top order together and handing him the armband would merely be a happy political coincidence.

The decision is set to be made on the eve of the CSA Awards in Joburg on June 4. - Sunday Independent


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