Proteas hungry to excel: Amla

2015-01-27 16:30
Hashim Amla (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - A win for South Africa in the fifth and final One Day International against the West Indies in Centurion on Wednesday will be vital heading into the Cricket World Cup says stand-in captain Hashim Amla.

"You want guys to perform and be in good form heading into the World Cup next month," Amla said in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"Everybody would be hungry to excel so they get onto that plane knowing their skills are up to date. As a team, 4-1 sounds better than 3-2 but we have the added benefit of being able to give a few guys opportunities."

Amla, captain of the Test side, was skippering the ODI team in the absence of regular skipper AB de Villiers who was being rested for the match.

Quinton de Kock was set to return to the South African lineup after recovering ahead of schedule from an ankle injury. He would open the batting and also take over the wicketkeeping duties at the expense of Morne van Wyk.

"Quinny comes back in. His rehab has gone better than most people expected so he'll be back in the team. So Morne van Wyk might miss out," Amla said.

"The batting order will probably be Quinton, myself, Faf du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw might slip in at four."

The selection of Farhaan Behardien had been questioned during the series, but Amla said the Titans batsman had come to the middle just twice in the series and had been in prolific form domestically over the last few seasons.

Behardien scored 12 in each of those ODIs against the West Indies, but his domestic 50-over record this season warranted his selection with 229 runs, at strike rate of 121, having lost his wicket just once in five innings.

"As a number seven batter, he falls into the finisher role. You've got David Miller, who's playing really well, and JP Duminy, who has been the banker for us for many years. Behardien, unfortunately, hasn't got the runs he would have liked, but you cannot argue with his credentials at domestic level.

"He's been the best finisher in the domestic game over the last few years for the Titans, and hopefully it's a matter of time before his true worth shows."

Behardien had also contributed as a bowler with his medium pacers, taking three wickets in the West Indies series at an average of 21.6.

The nature of South Africa's dominance over the West Indies would aid in their mental preparation for the World Cup, Amla said.

"It gives us a little more space to check out our squad, and we'll still be very fresh getting back into serious competition.

"This has been really good preparation -- the tough series in Australia where we didn't do too well, losing 4-1, and coming back and excelling at home. So there's no fear of burnout going into the World Cup."

West Indies allrounder Darren Sammy said a win for his side in the final match would be crucial ahead of their World Cup preparations. The two teams would come up against each other again in the showpiece event on February 27.

"We want to finish on a high, winning this match and building momentum will be key. Winning two matches against South Africa could give us a psychological edge going into the World Cup."

While the West Indies were outclassed in the first three matches of the series by the Proteas, Sammy was confident his, albeit inconsistent, team could be world-beaters.

"When we do what we do well, we can beat any team in the world.

"If we turn up, and when we turn up, we're unstoppable."

Read more on:    proteas  |  hashim amla  |  cricket


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