• What Hamza’s arrival means for the Proteas

    Zubayr Hamza’s inclusion in the Proteas’ Test squad isn’t necessarily good news for Hashim Amla. It epitomises diversity sentiments expressed by Temba Bavuma too, and more.

    The beginning of the end

    • Fans and critics have been talking about it for a while – and it’s now here: a succession plan for Amla. Whether he jumps before he is pushed remains in the balance, but the veteran right-hander hasn’t scored a Test century against a top-flight nation in almost two years. His eventual replacement is evidently being groomed.

    Strength in diversity, indeed

    • Bavuma recently stated: ‘The individuals who make up the team are from different backgrounds, cultures and upbringings; we have unique stories. We have possibly become one of the most diverse teams in international sport.’ Hamza’s inclusion certainly continues the theme in a squad increasingly more representative of the cosmopolitan country in which it plays.

    No-go for Malan, yet

    • There was always going to be space for only one new batsman in the squad for this home series, but when the Proteas tour next year there should be room for one more. For now, Hamza in in favour, despite Pieter Malan’s three fine centuries from his last nine first-class innings. Age isn’t on the 29-year-old Malan’s side, but he hasn’t entirely lost out to Hamza – six years his junior – just yet.

    Pipeline personified

    • Opportunities, at all levels, really do abound these days. Players are no longer limited to performing for just one or two teams in any given season. Hamza was playing for South Africa A in October, South Western Districts in the Africa T20 Cup in November, the Cape Cobras in November, and is currently with the University of the Western Cape Cricket Club at the University Sport South Africa A Week in Stellenbosch.

    Photo: Gallo

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