Hashim Amla is looking forward to leading his country at home for the first time in the Sunfoil Test series against the West Indies starting at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
Amla has had a successful run on the road, since taking over the captaincy from Graeme Smith in June, with impressive away series wins in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
‘Captaining at home is something special,’ Amla said on Tuesday. ‘Having made my captaincy debut overseas, where you don’t have the hype and attention, was probably a good thing. I’m a bit more settled in the captaincy and we’re playing at home. It feels like we have been away for a long time, we had a few away series throughout this year. To be at home and to give the fans some local action will be good, hopefully the home support will bring us some victories as well, it’s great to be back.’
Amla has taken leadership of a Test environment that is going through a changeover with the introduction of young debutants, but believes the new faces give the environment a good balance of youth and experience.
‘It has been exciting,’ Amla said of the transition. ‘We always knew that when Graeme (Smith) and Jacques (Kallis) retired we were going to go through a transition period. Fortunately when they retired there were still quite a few of us who had played international cricket for quite a while to hold the fort together. We were able to keep that core together which allowed the culture of the team to continue.
‘To have these young guys coming in with quirks and flair is extremely exciting,’ he said. ‘When we leave the team these are the guys that are going to have to take the team forward. We have to pass on as much knowledge and experience that we have gained over the years onto them, that is a responsibility that we have.’
The rain around Centurion will be an influencing factor on the starting XIs, with both captains hinting at last-minute team selections depending on the overhead conditions at SuperSport Park come Wednesday morning.
‘I think with the weather around, it probably does add a bit more favour for that,’ Amla said of the possibility of going with an all-seam attack. ‘We will have to see what happens on day one; if there are cracking blue skies then it will be a factor. We haven’t decided on the combinations we are going to go with, we will have to see what happens on the day.’