Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has announced that he is ready to step up and take more responsibility following the retirements of captain Graeme Smith and veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
Amla recently stated that he was willing to replace Smith as captain and is now in a battle against AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy for the leadership role.
“A lot has changed over the last few months,” Amla told South Africa’s Radio 2000. “Graeme has retired, Jacques has retired. I have 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’s willingness to become captain comes as a huge surprise since he has been reluctant to lead South Africa in the past.
Part of Smith’s decision to retire stems from the fact that he has a young family. Despite finding himself in the same predicament, Amla noted that he was happy to divide his time for now.
“Though cricket does form a deep part of a person’s life, everything else carries on,” he said. “The children are here and running around – being a father is something you can’t really explain but it has helped develop some other skills that could be used on a cricket field. I am really grateful the family has been supportive as it is quite challenging and we travel a lot.”
Even though Amla cannot predict what kind of impact the Test captaincy would have on his batting, he pointed out that if he were given the role, scoring runs would still be high on his list of priorities.
“I have always tried to establish myself as a batsman first,” Amla said. “Hopefully I can try and manage both.
“I am confident I can try and balance the two because on the field, I have always felt my mind is active and I try and contribute to ideas. Whoever is captain, I don’t think it will change my approach. We have a great bunch of senior guys who rely on and feed off each other.
“The speculation over who will be the next captain doesn’t affect our relationship. We have been playing for quite a long time and we have a good relationship. It’s not about who is captain or who is not captain; it’s about what’s good for the team. If the powers that be deem someone else to be in a better position to captain, then brilliant.”
Amla also conceded that losing to Australia in March was a bitter pill to swallow, especially since it was the Proteas’ first series defeat in five years.
“The top three or four teams are pretty evenly matched,” he said. “We also had a few challenges with Graeme and Jacques retiring but now, as a team we have to find a way of playing without those two colossal figures.”