Hashim Amla should be praised for resigning after the Newlands Test instead of earlier in the series.
Amla’s announcement after the final day’s play on Wednesday came as a surprise to me but it is understandable. He hinted at focusing on his batting when he said after the Durban Test, ‘I want to lead with runs’.
His decision will strengthen South Africa midway through the series because now he can focus only on his batting instead of all the decisions that come with the captaincy.
He also leaves the team in a better state than what it was after the first Test, or even before the series started.
I thought Amla showed great leadership in the second Test because from South Africa’s point of view they could have gone on and batted into day five, but the declaration was a good one as it’s all about inflicting some sort of mental pain on the opposition, especially with the England captain being his team’s opening batsman.
There were some tired legs as they had spend over 200 overs in the field and was a perfect opportunity to get them out. It also sends a message to the opposition, that we were there to play. England dominated the first two days of the Test and some people questioned Amla’s leadership.
He then went in to bat at No 3 relatively early and he stood his ground. From that point of view it shows character. South Africa turned the whole thing around from being under pressure to a position where they take all the momentum into the third Test.
Some people who criticised and questioned his captaincy never held a bat in their hands or bowled a ball at international level. They don’t even know what it takes to succeed at that level, yet they have the conviction to question his captaincy. I think it’s utter stupidity, and embarrassing, to say the least.
I don’t think there was a need to criticise him at any stage. He played a captain’s innings several times. Look at Sri Lanka where he scored 139 not out to draw the Test and South Africa winning a series there for the first time ever. The way the team backs him and his leadership is something the public and some of the media don’t know.
From that point of view it’s not great what we’ve seen from the media and fans. He is a quality leader.
The momentum is definitely with South Africa going to Johannesburg. They have now moved on from what happened in India and that is why they are the No 1 Test team in the world because they know how to turn things around, despite all the unwarranted criticism.
I think the team who played at Newlands has a fantastic balance to it and was the right one. Again, the selectors have shown they know what they are doing and that is why they are the selectors, otherwise we can make it a popularity contest and the one with the most votes play.
The way South Africa came back at Newlands impressed me the most – the mental strength that they showed throughout the games to turn things around and shift the momentum.
The Wanderers and Centurion are quick wickets, and I think it will suit both pace bowling attacks. It might come down to which batting unit performs better in the next two Tests.
The positive for South Africa is that they have Dean Elgar, Amla, AB De Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma and Chris Morris in good form now. I have no doubt the Proteas can draw or even win this series and remain the best cricket team in the world.
Alviro Petersen is a former Proteas cricketer and the third South African to score a century on Test debut. He has several records, including:
- The highest partnership by a South African pair (501) with Ashwell Prince;
- Four consecutive list A centuries (SA record and joint world record);
- Scored a century in both innings of a first-class game three times;
- Most centuries in a South African first-class season (6);
- The 2010 Mutual and Federal SA Cricketer of the Year;
- In 2011 became only the sixth player in Glamorgan history to score more that 2000 runs in a county season;
- Founder of the Alviro Petersen Foundation and Alviro Petersen Cricket School: www.alviropetersen.com