Johannesburg – A lid
needs to be placed now on the disappointment and controversy associated with
the Proteas’ narrow semi-final exit at the hands of New Zealand in the World
Cup earlier this year.
That was the theme to emerge from brief media sessions held
by national Test captain Hashim Amla and one of his co-senior batsmen and the
Twenty20 leader, Faf du Plessis, at the Melrose Arch launch here of the team’s
five-year kit deal with New Balance on Tuesday night.
Amla has just returned from a short stint in English county
cricket with Derbyshire, which he rounded off with a knock of 51 in the T20
competition and respective innings of 69 and 11 against Lancashire in his last
four-day Championship match.
Du Plessis, nursing a broken finger on his right hand which
ought to heal in time for the all-formats Bangladesh tour next month, played in
the Indian Premier League.
Amla said he felt ready to take charge of a pleasingly
Test-heavy few months for the No 1-ranked Proteas which features major, four-game
series against each of India (away) and England (home) after the Bangladeshi
“I chipped in now and then (for Derbyshire) ... I love
playing in England even if it was a bit cold; it was about keeping the skills
in touch and getting some game practice, in a sense.
“From a Test perspective, I don’t think (the events at the
World Cup) will have an impact. The senior guys are a mature lot, in many cases
having been together for 10 years, and the game goes on.
“There was a lot of media attention but whatever has happened
has happened; it’s done and dusted.
“I’m just looking forward to the busy Test period ahead: there
are 10 Test matches to come, and great opposition.
“I’ve had my first taste of the captaincy in six Test
matches so far (involving victorious series against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and
West Indies – Sport24), though it somehow feels longer than six!”
Amla warned that the gradually improving Bangladesh could
not be taken lightly on their own turf.
“No, the first series is a bit of a tricky one; they’ve been
playing some good cricket and we mustn’t be guilty of looking too far ahead.”
Du Plessis, meanwhile, confessed that he was “still hurting
a little bit” in the first three weeks of the IPL, which came hot on the heels
of the World Cup disappointment.
“It was tough initially to act like you were really into the
IPL because your mind was still on New Zealand and what happened there.
“I’ve probably not yet experienced a harder couple of days
than those immediately after (SA’s World Cup ended) ... we worked so hard and
came so close. You saw real emotions on that day (of the semis loss), but it’s
time for a new chapter.
“Time is the best thing to heal everything and gradually it
became normal cricket for me again.
“Now I just want to get away from the game a bit for a few
weeks; spend some time at home before we go to Bangladesh.”
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