Proteas focused on Tests after World Cup


Unlike last year when he first assumed the captaincy in two low key series against Sri Lanka and the West Indies, Amla will over the next nine months face greater scrutiny than was the case a year ago when most of the attention was focused on AB de Villiers and the World Cup.

“The World Cup comes every four years and when it concludes it does feel like a fresh start. In saying that, Test cricket is the ultimate format and everyone is looking forward to getting a lot of Test cricket in this year,” said South Africa’s Test captain.

“We only had six Tests last season, so to get 10 Tests in this year is something we are looking forward to.”

Amla will lead the Test side in two matches in Bangladesh next month, but faces much tougher assignments in India – four Tests – and later in the year when England tour the country to also play a four-match series.

While for some players – like South Africa’s T20 captain, Faf du Plessis – the hurt from the defeat in the semi-final in Auckland lasted several weeks, Amla was able to put it behind him very quickly.

“The disappointment lasts for a week or a little bit after that. But some guys went to IPL, I went to England for a bit … what’s done is done in my opinion. There’s nothing we can do now or talk about that will change what’s happened. I don’t think it will have an impact on how we do in Bangladesh or the rest of the season.”

Amla admitted that the Test side was still feeling the effects of playing without Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, and given the increased attention on Test cricket over the next few months, the side needs to evolve.

“Losing Graeme and Jacques means we aren’t completely settled, but the exciting thing is that there are a few positions open and we are trying to find the right winning combination. The season coming up is more of a litmus test for us,” he remarked.

The Test squad picked for the Bangladesh tour includes a few new faces including Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada and Reeza Hendricks. The evolution of the side has included the selection recently of two spinners – Dane Piedt and Simon Harmer – and the building of a new opening combination, following on from Alviro Petersen’s international retirement last season.

“Losing Viry means someone has to come up and it’s a great opportunity for one of the guys to become a part of the Proteas family hopefully, for their sake, for many years. If there is anywhere you’d like to bat for the team in Bangladesh it’s at the top of the order. Whoever bats upfront, thankfully it’s a positive way to be introduced into Test cricket.”

Amla said he’d only had one meeting with coach Russell Domingo since the World Cup, but that as the tour to Bangladesh gets closer the pair will have to decide on who will accompany Dean Elgar at the top of the order, who will fill in for De Villiers – who misses the Tests on account of paternity leave – and whether to play two spinners in the starting team.

“Playing Bangladesh in Bangla-desh is a lot more challenging than playing them at home – conditions are in their favour, so we are expecting a good challenge.

Everyone has been pleasantly surprised at how well Bangladesh have played in the last couple of months,” said Amla - The Star

The South African players have left behind their dramatic exit from this year’s World Cup, and according to Hashim Amla are keen to forge into a new era.

Original source: Proteas focused on Tests after World Cup