South Africa appoint Hashim Amla as Test captain
South Africa have appointed Hashim Amla as their new Test captain.
The 31-year-old batsman succeeds Graeme Smith, who retired from international cricket in March after a record 109 Tests as skipper.
Amla's first assignment will be a two-match series in Sri Lanka next month with one-day captain AB de Villiers as his vice-captain.
"It is an honour and a privilege to be given this responsibility," said Amla.
"I would like to pay tribute to the leadership Graeme Smith has provided throughout my international career."
De Villiers, the number one-ranked Test batsman and the South Africa wicketkeeper, was Smith's deputy and was thought to have been a leading candidate for the Test captaincy.
Hashim Amla in numbers
Tests: 76, runs 6,214, average 51.35, centuries 21, highest score 311*
ODIs: 85, runs 4,054, average 53.34, centuries 12, HS 150
Twenty20 internationals: 26, runs 600, average 25, HS 56
Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis was the third player considered for the role.
Last month South Africa were usurped at the top of the Test rankings by Australia, having held the number one position since August 2012.
Durban-born Amla, the first player of Indian descent to represent South Africa, is the Proteas' fifth permanent Test skipper since their reintegration in 1992, following Kepler Wessels, Hansie Cronje, Shaun Pollock and Smith.
He led South Africa at the 2002 Under-19 World Cup, made his international debut in 2004 and has played 76 Tests.
Amla, currently playing county cricket for Surrey, is the first non-white to captain the Test side in a full-time capacity, Ashwell Prince having skippered the side on a stand-in basis in the past.
"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," said the right-handed batsman.
South Africa in Sri Lanka 2014
- 3 July: Warm-up match (opponents TBC), Moratuwa
- 6 July: 1st ODI, Colombo (RPS)
- 9 July: 2nd ODI, Pallekele
- 12 July: 3rd ODI, Hambantota
- 16-20 July: 1st Test, Galle
- 24-28 July: 2nd Test, Colombo (SSC)
"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."
Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat hoped the appointment of Amla would bring stability to the Test team following the recent retirements of wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, all-rounder Jacques Kallis and opening batsman Smith.
"He has earned particular respect as a role model for his humility and his upholding of the best traditions and spirit of the game," former International Cricket Council chief executive Lorgat said.
"Becoming captain is a natural progression for his outstanding career and we are indeed fortunate to have a leader of his quality."
South Africa Test squad for Sri Lanka: Hashim Amla (capt), Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers (wk), Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Stiaan van Zyl.
South Africa ODI squad for Sri Lanka: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers (capt & wk), Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir.