Hashim Amla appears to have lost his spot in the Proteas top order
Hashim Amla appears to have lost his starting place at the top of the Proteas ODI line-up with the World Cup a few months away.
Amla‚ who has played in 174 ODIs and scored 7,910 runs at an average of 49.74‚ has largely opened the batting with Quinton de Kock but loss of form and the emergence of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen have put his place in serous jeopardy.
The once indispensable batting mainstay was not part of the Proteas squad that started with an eight-wicket win against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Sunday and it remains to be seen if he will be recalled for the last two matches.
SA's top five in Sunday's win against Sri Lanka included De Kock‚ Hendricks‚ captain Francois du Plessis‚ Van Der Dussen and David Miller‚ who did not get a chance to bat as the Proteas successfully chased down the 232 target they were set inside 39 overs.
Captain Du Plessis said Amla remains one of the most experienced campaigners in the team but competition for places has become fierce at the top of the batting order.
“If you look at the guys at the moment‚ Reeza and Rassie have had a fantastic season.
"In all formats they have been consistent and they deserve the opportunity to play and you then have myself‚ Quinny (De Kock) and David Miler.
"That’s probably your five best batters at the moment‚” he said.
“Hash is a high class player with experience but there is good competition for spots in the team.
"This is the squad for the first three games and we will see what happens in the last two matches.
"But if you look at the top five players who are here right now it is probably the guys who have been consistent scorers.”
Middle order batsman JP Duminy is another senior player whose place is under threat and he has has been out of action recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained in his last ODI appearance against Zimbabwe in October last year.
“There is still a place for number six which is probably JP Duminy at the moment but we want to bring him back playing some cricket‚” the SA captain said.
Duminy is likely to be recalled for the remaining two matches and there is also the possibility of Test opener Aiden Markram‚ who played his last ODI against Australia in Hobart last year‚ getting another opportunity to add to his 16 matches.
Markram is currently the leading scorer in the Momentum One Day Cup with 308 runs where he has pummelled two centuries in his two matches.
Du Plessis said he is still in their plans.
“Aiden has got good opportunities in ODI cricket and we know he is a better player than the figures suggest in the matches that he has played‚" he said.
"He is still very much in our thinking but it is not easy to say someone is doing really well because he has to come in someone’s place.
"He is a fantastic player and he is still in our plans.
“There are a lot of players and all he can do is to continue scoring runs and knock on that door‚ maybe there may be an opportunity in the last two matches of this series for him.”