Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 4th 2014 Contents A66
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Hashim Amla was named
South Africa s new Test cricket
captain yesterday, overtaking
apparent front-runner AB de Vil-
liers and succeeding longtime
leader Graeme Smith.
The 31-year-old Amla previously
shied away from the captaincy
when approached to do the job in
limited-overs cricket, but the bats-
man had a change of heart and
made himself available after
Smith s surprise retirement in
"I have concentrated on taking
my batting to the highest possible
tion to make a contribution to
South African cricket in a leader-
ship role," Amla said.
As captain of the one-day team,
de Villiers appeared to be the
favourite to take on the test job.
But his importance as a top-order
batsman and wicketkeeper may
have complicated his selection as
captain, with selectors possibly
unwilling to land him with too
much responsibility. De Villiers
was named Amla s vice captain.
Amla has played 76 Tests and
has an average of 51.35. Undoubt-
edly a world-class batsman, his
quiet, humble nature appeared to
hold him back from the captaincy.
However, Cricket South Africa said
he was the unanimous choice at
a board meeting in Johannesburg
"He has shown his steel in play-
ing in the key No 3 batting posi-
tion," CSA chief executive Haroon
Lorgat said, adding Amla "earned
particular respect as a role model
for his humility."
Amla s first challenge as captain
is a two-Test tour of Sri Lanka
next month, South Africa s first
series since being deposed as the
top-ranked team by Australia.
Smith announced his retirement
from internationals at the end of
the home series loss to the Aus-
tralians three months ago.
Amla will lead a team now with-
out former stalwarts Mark Bouch-
er, Jacques Kallis and Smith, and
Lorgat said the "stability" the bats-
man brought to the team was a
key part of his selection as skipper.
He is the fifth full-time Test cap-
tain for South Africa since its read-
mission after apartheid. The others
were Kepler Wessels, the late Han-
sie Cronje, Shaun Pollock and
South Africa also announced
two new players in its squad for
the test series in Sri Lanka, with
uncapped pair Stiaan van Zyl, a
batsman, and Dane Piedt, a spin
Amla appointed SA
Test cricket captain
bowler Mohammad Irfan no
longer wants to play Test cricket
so he can manage his health to
play in the 2015 World Cup.
The 2.16-metre (7-foot-1) Irfan
has been sidelined from interna-
tional cricket for nearly seven
months since injuring his hip during
a Twenty20 against South Africa
in Dubai last November.
"I have to manage my workload,
and playing Test cricket is an added
pressure, therefore I have decided
to play Twenty20s and one-day
internationals only," Irfan said yes-
"I have to get myself tied up for
a longer run this time and ensure
that I won t get dropped."
Pakistan s next international
assignment is against Sri Lanka
in August, then against Australia
and New Zealand in the United
Irfan made his test debut against
South Africa last year. All four of
his Tests have been against the Pro-
teas in 2013, during which he took
10 wickets before injuring his hip
when he fell in his follow through.
He bowled around 66 overs in
two Tests against South Africa in
the heat of the UAE before he broke
His rehabilitation has been closely
monitored by the Pakistan Cricket
Board, and medical reports sug-
gested in April that his hairline frac-
ture could be healed without a sur-
Irfan took part in a month-long
training camp in Lahore, and camp
leader Mohammad Akram indicated
that the tall fast bowler could make
an international comeback in the
series against Australia in October.
"I am disappointed for missing
a lot of cricket, but I am working
hard on my fitness so that I should
go a long way without breaking
down," Irfan said.
Last week, former Pakistan
seamer Sarfraz Nawaz also visited
the training camp and advised Irfan
to focus on limited-overs matches
instead of tests to maintain his fit-
Without Irfan, Pakistan struggled
in Bangladesh this year when it
failed to retain the Asia Cup title
and was knocked out in the group
stages of the World Twenty20.
But the bouncy pitches in Aus-
tralia and New Zealand for the
World Cup could give Pakistan an
edge if Irfan competes. He agrees.
"Australia pitches ... suit me," he
said. "If I managed to get 100 per-
cent fitness, I am sure I could win
matches there single-handedly."
Irfan focusing on 2015 World Cup
host a cricket test for the first time
since a devastating 2011 earth-
quake when New Zealand and Sri
Lanka meet at the city s Hagley
Oval from December 26 in the
first match of a two-Test series.
Hagley Oval, which hosts its first
Test match, is also the venue for
the opening match of the 2015
Cricket World Cup. The newly-
developed ground is near
Christchurch city center which was
levelled by a 6.3 magnitude earth-
quake on February 22, 2011 in
which 185 people died. New
Zealand plays Sri Lanka in the sec-
ond Test in Wellington, and in
seven one-day internationals as
both teams prepare for the World
NZ, S Lanka to play Test in Christchurch
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