Amla, Peterson ready to help

2013-05-28 16:16
Hashim Amla (AP)
Cape Town - Two experienced heads in the Proteas setup have put their hands up to fill the leadership vacuum at next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales.

With Graeme Smith out injured and Jacques Kallis opting to pull out due to personal reasons, the South Africans will be without two of their most experienced campaigners, which leaves skipper AB de Villiers with a tough job on his hands.

With Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy recently returning from injury and their immediate focus being on regaining form, the leadership onus has shifted towards two other key figures, Robin Peterson and Hashim Amla.

Luckily for South Africa though, both have expressed a willingness to assist.

First-choice spinner Peterson has represented the Proteas since 2002 and he said he’ll relish taking up a role of greater responsibility.

"I always take a leadership role where I can and I'd like to continue to do that," Peterson told the ESPNcricinfo website. "But we've created an environment where everyone is a leader, and I think that's the secret to (our) success."

Amla's desire to contribute as a leader again may come as a surprise, especially after stepping down as vice-captain in February. However, with the team now needing his input, he is not likely to shy away from lending a helping hand.

"If I find the need to add value in a certain way, then I will go ahead," he said.

"We're in a good space. Most of us are pulling in the right direction. Jacques hasn't been around the one-day game for the last year or so, so maybe the team has had a taste of it. Graeme's experience and assistance to AB will be missed but we will conduct ourselves as we normally do and keep building the team."

Despite coach Gary Kirsten playing down the team's chances, especially with Smith and Kallis absent, Amla believes they could spring a surprise.

"Maybe the expectations of people (are) a bit less, I'm guessing. But that doesn't affect the team itself. Every tournament we've been to, we've been as best prepared as we can and there's no excuse… you can't put your finger on why we haven't won. Obviously, we want to win. We want to send Gary off with a smile and fond memories of the team. It will be great for him to have an expression of the value he has given to us. It's important for us to win,” said Amla.

The Proteas take on the Netherlands in a warm-up match in Amstelveen on Friday, before also facing Pakistan at London's Oval next Monday.

They start their Champions Trophy campaign against India in Cardiff on June 6. Their other group stage opponents are Pakistan (June 10, Birmingham) and West Indies (June 14, Cardiff).

Proteas squad for the ICC Champions Trophy:

AB de Villiers (Titans, captain), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Colin Ingram (Warriors), Rory Kleinveldt (Cape Cobras), Ryan McLaren (Knights), David Miller (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Alviro Petersen (Highveld Lions), Robbie Peterson (Cape Cobras), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Highveld Lions)


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