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Amla gets captaincy nod

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Hashim Amla will captain the Proteas Test team, Cricket SA announced at media conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Tuesday. CSA chose Amla, 31, as the best candidate to succeed Graeme Smith who, retired from international cricket in March.

Amla captained the South African under-19 World Cup team in New Zealand in 2002. He was also captain of the Dolphins early in his career, before stepping down from the role to concentrate on his batting. The top order batsman has played 76 Tests for his country and boasts a batting average of 51.

His first assignment will be to lead South Africa against Sri Lanka in a two-Test, away series in July, with his fellow batsman AB de Villiers, the captain of the one-day side, as his vice-captain.

“It is an honour and a privilege to be given this responsibility,” Amla said.

“I would like to pay tribute to the leadership Graeme Smith has provided throughout my international career.

“This is an exciting challenge but one that I take on with positivity with our Test team being in exceptionally good space at the moment with the support of a strong core of senior players.

“I have concentrated on taking my batting to the highest possible level and now I feel I am in a position to make a contribution to South African cricket in a leadership role.”

Cricket South Africa’s chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, said he hoped the appointment of Amla would bring some much-needed stability to the world’s second-ranked side after the retirements of a number of senior players.

“It is a reflection of the excellence and standing of our senior players that there was more than one quality candidate to consider for this most important leadership position,” he said.

“Hashim is universally respected, both in South Africa and around the cricketing world, not only for his quality as a player which has seen him ranked among the best batsmen in the world in both Test and ODI cricket, but also for his personal qualities.

“He has shown his steel in playing in the key No3 batting position, one which he took over from Jacques Kallis with great success. The manner in which he has adapted his game to suit the different forms of cricket speaks volumes for his skills to react to changing circumstances.

“He has earned particular respect as a role model for his humility and his upholding of the best traditions and spirit of the game. Becoming captain is a natural progression for his outstanding career and we are indeed fortunate to have a leader of his quality.” SAPA

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