• Gibson anticipates Amla turnaround

    Coach Ottis Gibson has backed batsman Hashim Amla to come good during South Africa’s Test series against Pakistan later this year.

    Amla has not scored a Test century against a top-flight nation in almost two years –  and managed a mere 40 runs in four innings against Sri Lanka in July.

    His T20 form for the Durban Heat in the recent Mzansi Super League too, was substandard.

    ‘Hashim has been carrying niggles that have not allowed him to do the things that he wanted to do. For him it is to get back to the nets and work on the things that he needs to work on‚ but he is an experienced player for us,’ the Sowetan quoted Gibson as saying.

    ‘He had dips in form, but he knows what he needs to do. I have spoken to him since I arrived in the country on Wednesday night and he will be desperate to get back into action. I have no concerns about him.’

    Fellow middle-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn, meanwhile, is recovering from the back injury that sidelined him from the MSL. The uncapped Zubayr Hamza will likely debut in the first Test, if De Bruyn doesn’t regain full fitness by then.

    ‘The ideal scenario is to have a settled batting line-up, with the top five knowing exactly where they stand,’ added Gibson.

    ‘Theunis scored a ton in his last game and he is the man in position at the moment. But we will have to see how he manages his injury situation in the next couple of days. If he does not come through‚ there is a strong possibility Hamza will play.’

    Photo: Gallo

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