The worst kept secret in cricket is out with the announcement that Hashim Amla has been named as the new Proteas Test captain.
The news was made public at a Cricket SA press conference in Sandton. Amla now occupies the hot seat that was vacated by Graeme Smith, who retired in March, after more than a decade at the helm. Amla, who holds the South African Test record of 311 not out – scored against England in 2012 – becomes the fifth captain of the Proteas in the five-day format since the country returned from international isolation in 1991.
After initially not being considered a contender, due to his abdication of the limited-overs vice-captaincy in February 2013, Amla was installed as the favourite for the post once it became clear he was willing to take it up.
In late May, he gave a rare telephonic interview to Radio 2000, stating his desire to fill the leadership hole created by the retirement of Smith and, to a lesser extent, Jacques Kallis. He told the station that he had ‘always stayed away from taking the leadership role but now that we have lost two core members I think it is a good time for me, if appointed, to add value to the team.’
Amla returns to county side Surrey for the remainder of June, where he is filling in for the injured Graeme Smith, and will officially take up the Test captaincy for the Proteas’ tour to Sri Lanka.
The two initial favourites, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, will continue to captain the ODI and T20I teams respectively, while De Villiers will be Amla’s vice-captain in the Test arena.