Hashim Amla says he resigned as captain of South Africa’s Test team because he feels someone else can do a better job.
News of Amla’s resignation emerged shortly after the second Test between South Africa and England at Newlands ended in a draw. It will surprise some, but not others who feel he is not suited to the role.
AB de Villiers will take over the reins for the remaining two Tests at the Wanderers and Centurion, but coach Russell Domingo admitted De Villiers was a frontrunner to take over on a permanent basis.
‘That’s the bottom line, that is why he has been asked to do it for these next two Tests,’ said Domingo. ‘After this, our next series is only in August so there’s a little bit of time for that decision to be made. The selectors will need to sit down with AB once this series is done and plan the way forward.’
De Villiers himself said: ‘I’ve said this before, that it is an incredible honour to captain South Africa in any format. The captaincy has obviously come at short notice and is the realisation of a lifelong dream.’
Alastair Cook was shocked when he was told about Amla’s resignation at his post-match press conference.
‘It’s a bit of a shock,’ Cook said. ‘I don’t have a lot so say: obviously he played an outstanding innings, a real captain’s knock in this Test, so, yeah, it’s a bit of a shock.’
Amla, who fronted the media with Domingo, team manager Mohammed Moosajee and CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat, said another reason for his resignation was that he also wanted to focus on his own game after experiencing the worst run of form of his career in 2015.
‘My decision was made two weeks ago after giving it a lot of thought. It’s just so happened that I scored 200 in this Test and I’m glad that I actually got some runs on the board.
‘My decision is purely based on the fact that I think somebody else can do a better job. I’ve always wanted to be someone that leads from the front and I think throughout the captaincy I have been able to do that most of the time. Everybody goes through patches here and there of not getting runs but that’s part of a captain’s life anyway.
‘I feel my leadership style for a young team like this; I gave it my best shot and thoroughly enjoyed it,’ Amla said.
‘I’m not worried my announcement will be disruptive to the rest of the squad. I chatted to a few of the players about my decision so I don’t think it’s a massive shock to some of the guys.’
Amla also squashed rumours that he never really wanted the captaincy and was a reluctant captain since taking over from Graeme Smith midway through 2014.
‘It was always my decision to be captain. It was certainly my own choice. When Graeme [Smith] stepped down it gave an opportunity for me to explore my captaincy. I thought at that time I could add value and I’d like to believe that I have added value. I’m very surprised that some people have suggested it wasn’t my decision.’