Amla to link up with Benkenstein in search of CWC form

Hashim Amla (Gallo)
Hashim Amla (Gallo)

Cape Town - Struggling Proteas batsman Hashim Amla will be turning to national batting coach Dale Benkenstein in the hope of finding some form ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

It has been a testing couple of months for the 36-year-old Amla, who has been nowhere near his best in the middle while he has also had the unfortunate mental and emotional challenge of his father being critically ill. 

READ: Proteas consider 'plan B' with Steyn a World Cup worry

It is a combination that threatened Amla's World Cup inclusion, but in the end the national selectors and management backed the pedigree and experience of a man largely considered one of the best white ball batsman South Africa has ever produced. 

Recent returns, however, have done nothing to silence the doubters. 

Amla scored just 92 runs in 8 innings this year's CSA T20 Challenge, leaving him with an average of just 11.5 for the tournament. 

Every time he came out to bat, he did so under a microscope and with an expectant South African public waiting and hoping for him to find the form that has made him one of the best. It never came. 

Amla's run-a-ball 32 against the Dolphins at Newlands was his most telling contribution, and there was simply never a moment where he looked completely in control. 

Then, this past weekend, Amla released a statement saying that he would not be completing the T20 Challenge with the Cobras. 

Instead, he would be looking at "fine tuning" his batting ahead of the World Cup.

It is a decision that CSA selection convenor Linda Zondi says is a purely cricketing decision, and one that makes sense. 

"The manner in which you train for T20 is different to how you train for 50 over cricket," Zondi told Sport24 on Monday.

"He will be spending time with Dale Benkenstein and there is a program set up for him. 

"It is a cricketing decision, at the end of the day. You train for a short period of time when you're playing T20 cricket and this ensure that his preparation is not limited."

Zondi acknowledged that while it was not responsible to read too much into Amla's T20 contributions, his form was worrying. 

"Yes, it's been a concern," he said.

"We can't say that it hasn't been a concern, but the preparation is so different for the two formats so we have to back the decision.

"He wants to bat longer and spend more time with Benky to get equipped for 50 over cricket."

South Africa's World Cup squad will meet for a pre-tournament camp on May 12 while their first match of the World Cup is against England at The Oval on May 30. 

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