CAPE TOWN - Western Province's preparations for the new Cricket SA first-class structure continue to be hampered with Proteas legend Hashim Amla's proposed move to Newlands falling through.
Amla, 38, is the latest loss WP have suffered after former coach Ashwell Prince permanently joined the Bangladesh coaching staff last month as a batting consultant, while Vernon Philander also accepted an offer to be the Pakistan bowling coach for the T20 World Cup on Monday. Philander was due to captain the WP first-class team for the forthcoming season, although discussions are still on going relating to former Proteas' seamers' playing future.
Amla, meanwhile, was originally named in the WP squad for the 2021/22 season, he will now no longer be turning out in the blue and white.
"I have always enjoyed my time playing at Newlands for the Cape Cobras and working as the batting consultant at the Cape Town Blitz and I want to thank Western Province for their open communication throughout the entire contracting ," says Amla.
"I have made this decision based on where I am currently in my career and with a view to my future endeavors. I want to wish the squad all the best for the coming season."
Amla's agent Ismail Kajee also told IOL Sport that "Western Province have been great and we hope that Hashim will be able to contribute to the team in some way in the future."
The holder of South Africa's highest Test score has remained active since retiring from international cricket after the 2019 World Cup, having just enjoyed a successful season with Surrey CC in the English County Championship.
Despite his advanced age, the veteran showed he still possessed those famed powers of concentration with a marathon 37 not out off 278 balls, which formed part of batting out the entire final day, to save a match for Surrey against Hampshire. Overall in 12 matches thus far, Amla has amassed 771 runs, which included an undefeated 215, at an average of 51.40.
Amla's non-arrival is a major loss for Six Gun Grill Western Province not only due his possible run-scoring contributions, but also to the role he would have played in the development of young batters such as Tony de Zorzi and Jonno Bird.
Province have also yet to finalize the appointment of their new coach with Faiek Davids occupying the role of interim coach at the moment.
Davids, the former WP first-class all-rounder, has interviewed for the head post along with former Proteas pace bowler Roger Telemachus and former Proteas Women's assistant coach Saliegh Nackerdien.
Telemachus is current WP u-19 coach, while Nackerdien is the batting consultant at the GBets Rocks at Boland Park.
Former Highveld Lions and current Titans assistant coach Geoff Toyana has also been linked with the vacant post, while recently resigned Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe current availability could make him an attractive option too.
The full WP squad for the 2021/22 season:
Zubayr Hamza, Kyle Verreynne, George Linde, Tony De Zorzi, Nandre Burger, Yaseen Vallie, Kyle Simmonds, Jonathan Bird, Mihlali Mpongwana, Tshepo Moreki, David Bedingham, Aviwe Mgijima, *Vernon Philander, Basheer Walters, Wayne Parnell, Beuran Hendricks (national contract)