Who will take reins?

2014-05-23 00:00

ANDREW Hudson, the Protea convenor of selectors, has confirmed that the Test captaincy berth left by the departure of Graeme Smith in March, is destined to be filled by one of three players — AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis or Hashim Amla.

It has been widely assumed since Smith retired after the three-Test series against Australia earlier this year in South Africa, that Du Plessis, the current Protea T20 skipper or De Villiers, at the helm of the ODI team, would fill the void. Amla’s confirmation that he would be happy with the responsibility has come as a surprise to many but, as Hudson indicates, the prolific batsman has been in the frame for some time.

“When Smith retired, the cricket public immediately approved either Du Plessis or De Villiers to take the reins but I can confirm that Amla has been in the mix for a while,” said Hudson.

“I had discussed the matter with him a while back and he has always indicated his availability for the job. It’s nothing new. I spoke to all three players after the Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh and they all indicated they were keen for consideration.”

Hudson added that as convenor, he was in the fortunate position of having three quality players put their hands up, enabling a process to be initiated in making the final decision, as opposed to an already primed successor.

“As selectors, we have been tasked with making a recommendation to the Cricket South Africa board who sit in early June to make their final selection and decision,” said Hudson. “We have to make a selection from the three candidates and motivate the reasons behind our thinking, why we think such a player is the right one for the job.”

As highlighted by Hudson, all three players have thoroughbred pedigrees in the Test cricket arena and they all bring more than just quality to the table.

“They are all different in the way they play and their personalities. Hence, they offer different dimensions in key areas of leadership and we have to weigh that all up in determining what we want to ensure our continued standing in the tough world of Test cricket.”

Either way, whatever is decided by the board, it will bring its own challenges to Hudson and his band of selectors.

“It’s a new phase for all concerned, from the players and the team, to us as selectors and in the boardroom,” he said.

“Obviously I cannot disclose who we as selectors have identified as the preferred choice, but the bottom line is making the choice for the benefit and future of South African cricket where our immediate goal is to wrest the ICC mace for the number one ranked Test cricket nation, from the Aussies.”

The new man in charge of the Test team will lead the Proteas for the first time on tour to Sri Lanka in July, the first Test in Galle from July 16 to 20.

Tour to Sri Lanka

July 6 - 1st ODI, Colombo (D)

July 9 - 2nd ODI, Kandy (D/N)

July 12 - 3rd ODI, Hambantota (D)

July 16-20 - 1st Test, Galle

July 24-28 - 2nd Test, Colombo.

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