Cape Town - Proteas coach Russell Domingo has lashed out at those who have criticised outgoing Test captain Hashim Amla.
A 3-0 series loss in India was followed by a 241-run defeat to England in Durban in the ongoing series opener, and all through that there have been questions raised over Amla's leadership of the side.
On Wednesday, Amla resigned from the captaincy after having scored a double hundred to help rescue a draw for South Africa in the second Test against England in Cape Town.
And while Amla joked mid-rant with a cheeky "You don't have to defend me, Russell" at the post-match press conference where he announced his resignation, the coach felt the need to anyway.
"I honestly feel that a lot of the criticism Hashim has faced over the last couple of weeks has been very harsh," Domingo said.
"He’s one of South Africa’s greatest ever players. I honestly feel that there hasn’t been enough respect shown for what he has achieved as a player."
Domingo also defended Amla's captaincy record as well as his batting form during that time.
"If I think of his performances over the last year, people can say what they want to, he’s still averaging 45 as captain," he said.
"He’s gone to Zimbabwe, won a series there and gone to Sri Lanka, won a series there which no other captain has done.
"He’s won a series against the West Indies. He’s gone to India where a lot of captains have lost under very tough conditions.
"We’ve come here (home against England) with six new players who have all played under 10 Test matches. I think there have been quite a lot of harsh things said about him.
"The selflessness … he’s sacrificed himself for the team … it speaks volumes for him. People need to appreciate that kind of character, sometimes we undervalue that."
Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat agreed.
"I’ve noted some of the comments which I regard as particularly harsh and unfair," he said.
The Proteas now travel to Johannesburg for the third Test, where they will be captained by AB de Villiers.