Hashim Amla due back in action‚ but in time for the Cricket World Cup?
Hashim Amla is set to play his first cricket in five weeks next week in what could be his last competitive preparation for the World Cup.
Amla‚ who has opted out of playing while helping to care for his ill father‚ is available for the Cobras’ T20s against the Lions at the Wanderers on Sunday and the Titans in Benoni on Wednesday.
But those may be the only times he takes guard until South Africa play Sri Lanka in Cardiff on May 24 in the first of two World Cup warm-up fixtures
The stalwart last picked up a bat in earnest on March 1‚ when he played for the Cobras against the Titans in a one-day match at Newlands.
Amla missed all five white-ball games South Africa played against Sri Lanka in March‚ their last competitive cricket before the World Cup.
His time away from the crease‚ and his relative dip in form‚ has led to speculation that his place in South Africa’s squad for the tournament is under threat.
Cobras coach Ashwell Prince made the case for picking Amla in a release from the franchise on Thursday that confirmed the latter’s availability “for at least the opening matches” of the T20 tournament.
“I still think there is a place for someone to bat through the innings and he is well capable of doing that‚” Prince was quoted as saying.
“If he bats through the innings at 120‚ 130 strike rate it allows other natural ball-strikers to play their game around him.”
The release said Prince confirmed JP Duminy was unavailable “for the opening part of the tournament as he undergoes strengthening of his shoulder as per CSA’s [Cricket South Africa] request”.
South Africa will announce their World Cup squad on April 18.