Proteas test skipper: Who will it be?

2014-06-01 15:00

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“Give it to Hashim.” This was the sentiment of former Proteas fast bowler Makhaya Ntini yesterday, ahead of Tuesday’s announcement of the new Proteas test captain.

After declaring his interest in the vacant post, Hashim Amla has emerged as a frontrunner to succeed Graeme Smith, who retired in March after leading South Africa for 11 years and becoming the most capped test captain in history. Smith won 53 of his 108 tests in charge of the national test team.

Ntini believes Amla has all the qualities to lead the test squad.

Even former national Under-19 coach Ray Jennings has tipped the ­dependable Cape Cobras batsman to get the nod ahead of AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.

But both believe Amla’s refusal to endorse one of the main test cricket sponsors, Castle Lager, could work against him. “Obviously for the sponsor, Amla’s selection will pose a serious challenge because he would be the guy on TV cameras more than any other player in the team,” said Jennings.

“But take nothing away from him, he’s an experienced player and perhaps the most level-headed in the national team setup.”

Due to the sponsor’s challenge when it comes to Amla, De Villiers is the best candidate for the test team and it wouldn’t be surprised if the board ratifies that decision from the selectors, said Ntini.

The erstwhile Proteas fast bowler added that the new captain would need to be firm and avoid the possibility of cliques within the team. According to Ntini, it was also “high time for change” to take place at the Proteas.

“Besides AB and Hashim, I also think JP Duminy ­deserves a chance to lead the team. His performance speaks for itself and he is a disciplined player,” said Ntini.

“We need someone who is flexible and understands the game and the individual players in the team.”

De Villiers has 92 consecutive test matches under his belt and has been in earshot of Smith over the past 24 months as wicketkeeper.

While he has been shown to be tactically naive at the one-day international level, he has also shown massive improvement as his reign has extended.

Du Plessis, who is the T20 captain, is not fancied for the job by Ntini and Jennings.

The Proteas will have a new captain on Tuesday when Cricket SA ratifies the decision of the ­selectors regarding their preferred candidate.

Who will it be?

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