JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s star batsman Hashim Amla was named the country’s Test cricket captain on Tuesday, replacing retiring Graeme Smith who led the side for a decade.
A ‘glad and humbled’ Amla said he would give all his heart to the role, as the Proteas try to rebuild after the departure of opener Smith and legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
“Throughout the years I have concentrated mainly on my batting, trying to become the best batsman possible and hopefully I can still get there,” said Amla.
“But now I do feel it is time to act, to contribute in a team environment.”
Amla, 31, who made his Test debut against India in Kolkata 10 years ago, praised the work done by his predecessor, whose legacy looms large.
“I have to pay tribute to Smith and his leadership over the 10 years that I have been involved; there was certainly a lot of value that he added.”
Smith had captained South Africa in a world-record 109 Tests before announcing his retirement during the third and final Test against Australia last March.
While praising Smith, Amla said he would be his own man.
“One thing I have learnt in international sport is that you don’t try to copy anybody, generally you find that the guys who try to copy are not as successful,” he said.
He said this focus would be on putting together a ‘winning combination’ that can return South Africa to the top of the Test rankings.
Amla was reappointed De Villiers’ vice-captain of the ODI team and his first assignment will be to lead South Africa in two Tests in Sri Lanka during July.
“A two Test series in Sri Lanka, make no mistake about it, is quite a challenging series,” said Amla.
“Not many teams go to Sri Lanka and dominate; they are a very resourceful team and play really well in their conditions.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2014.
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