Wed, 24 Apr 2019

Amla still in Proteas' World Cup plans - Gibson

News24
26 Mar 2019, 17:40 GMT+10

Cape Town - Hashim Amla is still on course to make the Proteas' 15-man squad for this year's World Cup in England.

The 35-year-old, easily one of the greatest batsmen this country has ever produced, has been sidelined from the game for nearly a month with his father critically ill.

It is obviously an extremely sensitive situation and Amla has been given the full support of all of his peers as well as his coaches at both the Proteas and the Cape Cobras.

Nobody can argue that family comes first and that, in times like these, cricket is not the most important thing in the world.

The truth, though, is that doubts over Amla's World Cup election began to surface well before these unfortunate family circumstances arose.

Amla's form has not been anywhere near the heights we have come to expect over the years, and the emergence of Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks in white ball cricket this year have shook things up.

Amla was always supposed to open the batting at the World Cup alongside Quinton de Kock, but recent developments mean that there are now question marks hovering over that department.

Back-to-back half-centuries in the last two T20Is against Sri Lanka came at the perfect time for Hendricks, while Markram has been simply scintillating over the last month or so.

Either of those players would serve as more than capable replacements for Amla alongside De Kock, while both are versatile enough to slip down the order to No 3.

In an interview with CSA selection convenor Linda Zondi earlier in the month, it seemed that the major selection conundrum for the World Cup was that there was only room for two of Amla, Markram or Hendricks.

All three could still go, of course, but with the likes of Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis and David Miller all certainties, South Africa will be wary of going in over-stocked with specialist batsmen.

The squad is set to be announced on April 18 and it is not clear how much cricket, if any, Amla will play between now and then.

He has been ruled out of Wednesday's Momentum One Day Cup semi-final against the Titans at Centurion, while the Cobras will play five fixtures in the domestic T20 competition before the World Cup squad is announced.

There is still a lot that can happen between now and then, but for now it seems like Amla is still in the running for a World Cup spot.

"He's still very much part of the plans," said Gibson after the 3rd T20I in Johannesburg on Sunday.

"When it comes to family, then family takes precedence over everything else.

"We have to just give him the time he needs to be with his family and then we will try and make a decision sometime after that."

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