Hashim Amla never wanted to be the Proteas captain and was almost forced into it. His form dropped and he seemed frustrated. His captaincy was questionable to say the least and it’s fantastic that he’s stood down…
Let me get one thing out the way: I am a huge Hashim Amla fan. I think he’s arguably South Africa’s best ever batsman. Yes, I do believe that. Right up there with Kallis, Pollock and Richards. I also believe that he’s not a captain. It seems harsh to say this, but I can’t remember South Africa ever having a worse captain (ok, maybe Ashwell Prince).
It’s not Hash’s fault at all. When Biff Smith stood down, Cricket South Africa asked Hash if he’d like the position. What cricketer in his right mind, would ever say no? It’s every boy’s dream to play for his country, and to captain it is just unimaginable. Yet, Hash said that he didn’t fancy the position. Selfless. We obviously don’t know what was said behind closed doors, but what the public heard was that he didn’t want the position, and nevertheless has been captain ever since.
He scored 118 runs in four Tests versus India and loads of people, me included, were questioning his position. He then scored 19 in his two innings of the first Test versus England. Poor form continuing.
Then, on Sunday I went to Newlands to watch the second day of the second Test against England. Granted, Ben Stokes batted really well, but Hash was awful as captain. I spent a lot of time just watching how he captained and often found myself shaking my head in despair.
On the evening of Day 1, he gave the new ball to Rabada and Morris, who have a handful of Tests between them, while Morne Morkel stood in the field and watched. I noticed small, petty schoolboy errors in his captaincy. Some time during the day, Kagiso Rabada was standing at deep mid-off, on the boundary rope (Kelvin Grove end) warming up. I thought he’d be taking the next over from the K.C end, but instead, Hash had him bowling from the Wynberg End. So Rabada was running from the mid-off boundary, across the entire field to bowl. His first ball was short and hooked for four. The entire spell he bowled went to deep mid-off and back again. Shocking. Let him relax at fine leg and walk slowly to his bowling run-up.
There were a handful of rookie errors throughout the Test, and at one stage I noticed Dean Elgar moving the fielders into position. You just wouldn’t see other fielders doing that under Smith or Cronje. I’d like to see Dean Elgar possibly get the position full time after AB fills in for the rest of this series.
Batting over the past few days, Hash seemed more stress free, as though he’d handed the captaincy back, and today’s breaking news confirmed it. Amla has said he doesn’t want the captaincy anymore – brilliant.
It’s the best decision for the Proteas. Hash can now get back to doing what he’s always done – scoring tons and tons of runs. That’s all we want.
Good luck to AB de Villiers (or Dean Elgar?), let’s hope we’ll be super successful under the new leadership.