Hashim Amla has been appointed as the successor to Graeme Smith as the captain of the Castle Lager Proteas Test team in an announcement made today by Cricket South Africa.
Amla, currently playing for Surrey, will be tasked with taking over from Smith, one of the most successful captains in the modern era.
Smith was appointed as captain in 2003 and oversaw one of the Proteas most successful era's during which the left-handed opener captained his country in a world record 109 Tests, winning 53, losing 28 and drawing 27.
Smith might not have led his team to world cup glory however he did lead the Proteas to the top of the ICC test rankings which they relinquished earlier this year when they lost to Australia.
Amla is a veteran of 76 Tests and is widely regarded as the best number three batsman in the game with an average of over 51. He is very well respected within the international fold and is certainly well equipped to take over after serving as understudy to both Smith and De Villiers in Test and ODI cricket.
Haroon Lorgat, the Chief Executive of Cricket South Africa pointed out it was a unanimous decision by the board and selectors.
Speaking to the media, Lorgat went on to say,“It is a reflection of the excellence and standing of our senior players that there was more than one quality candidate to consider for this most important leadership position. Hashim is universally respected, both in South Africa and around the cricketing world, not only for his quality as a player which has seen him ranked among the best batsmen in the world in both test and ODI cricket, but also for his personal qualities.
“He has shown his steel in playing in the key No 3 batting position, one which he took over from Jacques Kallis with great success. The manner in which he has adapted his game to suit the different forms of cricket speaks volumes for his skills to react to changing circumstances. He has earned particular respect as a role model for his humility and his upholding of the best traditions and spirit of the game. Becoming captain is a natural progression for his outstanding career and we are indeed fortunate to have a leader of his quality.
“Stability has been one of the endearing qualities he has brought to the Proteas and this is important at a time when we have had to replace several key players in Smith, Kallis and Boucher.”
Hashim Amla responded, “It is an honour and a privilege to be given this responsibility. I would like to pay tribute to the leadership Graeme Smith has provided throughout my international career. This is an exciting challenge but one that I take on with positivity with our test team being in exceptionally good space at the moment with the support of a strong core of senior players.
“I have concentrated on taking my batting to the highest possible level and now I feel I am in a position to make a contribution to South African cricket in a leadership role.”
Amla's first task will be to lead South Africa in a two Test series in Sri Lanka.