Johannesburg - Newly appointed South African Test captain Hashim Amla said it was time for him to take responsibility for the team and not concentrate solely on his own performance.
“Throughout the years, I've tried to concentrate on my batting, but now I do feel it's time to contribute in a team environment,” Amla said in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
He paid tribute to his predecessor, Graeme Smith, and said it was only after Smith's retirement, that he actually gave the captaincy role some consideration.
“When Graeme decided to retire it was a surprise to us because he was still young. It was at that moment that I decided that, with the group of players we have... if the team wanted me, I would step forward as captain.
“Hopefully, with all the experience I've gained, not forgetting the senior guys we have because it's always a collective effort, I'll do well.”
Cricket SA chose Amla, 31, as the best candidate to succeed Smith who, announced his retirement in the middle of the third Test against Australia retired from international cricket in March.
Amla captained the South African under-19 World Cup team in New Zealand in 2002. He was also captain of the Dolphins early in his career, before stepping down from the role to concentrate on his batting.
He said he was now ready and eager to captain the side but cautious about predicting his style of leadership.
“It's difficult to say what kind of captain I'll be.
“I'll certainly be picking people's brains. When you're in a leadership position you're more a servant than a leader. You should serve the people you're responsible for.”
Amla said he had learned from experience not to try and copy anyone else's style.
“The guys who try and copy someone else don't make it generally. The way I try and approach my game is to see what works for me.
“I don't have any role-models for captain, I'll just try and bring what I can to the table.”
Proteas coach Russell Domingo said Amla was the right man for the job.
“Hash has been contributing behind the scenes in a big way and already made a massive contribution. Now it's just an extension of his contributions,” said Domingo.
Amla's first assignment will be to lead South Africa against Sri Lanka in a two-Test away series in July.
He is the fifth person to be appointed captain of the Proteas after Kepler Wessels (1992), Hansie Cronje (1994), Shaun Pollock (2000) and Smith (2003). Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince have also done the job in a stand-in capacity.
AB de Villiers has been appointed vice-captain of the Test squad. He also remains captain of the ODI squad with Amla as his deputy.