Champions Trophy 2013 May 27, 2013

Amla, Peterson ready to fill leadership vacuum

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Robin Peterson and Hashim Amla have put their hands up to fill South Africa's leadership vacuum at the Champions Trophy. In the absence of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers has been left without two of his most important advisors, and the self-confessed uncertain leader will have to rely on other names in a largely inexperienced squad.

De Villiers is the most capped player in South Africa's squad and will shoulder tremendous responsibility in the competition. He will have to captain, keep wicket and be the senior-most batsman in a line-up that includes two players, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy, who are making a return from injury.

Although that duo is part of South Africa's new leadership core - du Plessis is the Twenty20 captain and Duminy is the next most experienced member of the squad - they will doubtlessly have their own form to focus on. It will be up to Peterson and Amla to be de Villiers' consultants, and both have expressed a willingness to assist.

Peterson is South Africa's first-choice spinner, and his 11 years as an international cricketer will come in handy in pressure situations. "I always take a leadership role where I can and I'd like to continue to do that,' Peterson told ESPNcricinfo, before the squad left for a training camp in Amsterdam at the weekend. "But we've created an environment where everyone is a leader, and I think that's the secret to [our] success."

However, it is Amla's desire to contribute as a leader again that may seem surprising. After he stepped down as vice-captain in February, it seemed Amla had walked as far away from seniority as he could. Now he finds it drawing him back in and this time, because the team needs him, he is not likely to shy away from it. "If I find the need to add value in a certain way, then I will go ahead.

"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."

With a unit still in transition, outgoing coach Gary Kirsten indicated that South Africa do not enter the competition under as much pressure as they usually do. But the players are still smarting from the manner in which they exited the 2011 World Cup and last year's World T20, and are desperate to prove they can win.

"Maybe the expectations of people [are] a bit less, I'm guessing," Amla said. "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."

Peterson, too, believes South Africa will not be forgiven too many more slip-ups by their fans, especially as Kirsten was thought to be the man who could change their fortunes. "There is no less pressure than going to any other world event," he said. "It's going to be very tough for us, especially because a lot of [the] guys [are] going to their first world event, but this is a different team from 2011. We have grown significantly since then. Gary has added a whole new dimension."

Careful following of processes is Kirsten's biggest legacy and Peterson believes the self-belief Kirsten has gifted the unit will change the way South Africa's Achilles' heel often operates. "People talk a lot about our middle order, but they are mentally tougher than people give them credit for," he said. "It will be great to see them out there doing what they are capable of and winning matches for us."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • seanL on May 29, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Hey everybody who wants to compare AB devillers with dhoni , hey go n do something else. You cant compare AB technique & skills, He is top class batsman, Dhoni is only a hitter. unfortunately no one ( including AB) understand AB batting capability & fielding skills. For me AB is the most talented & no.01 batman in the world. Even amla, clarke are not better than AB. Anytime AB can slow or fast according to the situation. We want him to bat in no.3 or 4 in both formats. If he is open the inning he will break all the batting records. Compare his techniques, stats n everything. SA has given Wicket keeping to AB n we lost to see world best fielders fielding skills, this is absolutely ridiculous. we want world best fielder back on the cricket field

  • Shongololo on May 29, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Oh it is, duncanmoo. He was treated shabbily by the powers that be, had to look on while lesser players were selected above him, had no financial security as a player in South Africa and that forced him to move to Aus, where he is respected, selected or dropped on merit alone and is doing a fine job taking South Australia out of its long-inhabited cricketing doldrums.

  • gibbs.175 on May 29, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    OK ..GRANT KING>...as you wish ...but i want this ICC trophy in SOUTHAFRICA (HANDS ) Im an INDIAN ...but i watching...praying for SA since 1992....good luck

  • andrew27994 on May 28, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    Though I'm disapointed that Kallis won't be playing, I'm very excited to see Duminy make his return in the CT. With no Kallis in the setup, Duminy might be given a different role for the side depending on the match situation, of course.

  • andrew27994 on May 28, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks : Don't worry about us mate, our batting lineup is less likely to suffer a major collapse. I wonder how are SL batsmen going to survive good pace attacks like England and Australia. Yes, I know SL have had the better of Australia in recent times but Australia always bring on a formidable side in major tournaments and the conditions are more suitable to them than for Sri Lanka.

    Our bowling attack is good enough to disturb any side amd we have enough variety too. Irfan Pathan will need to be the spearhead of the attack and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar will be the bowler to watch out in this tournament.

  • duncanmoo on May 28, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    @ Shongololo Johan Botha took himself out of the picture and moved to Australia. Good for him if he went where the money is for him, SA's loss totally, but it is not a selection policy thing.

  • on May 28, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    @GRVJPR.. Dude How come you saying that India maintained No 1 consistently for last five years. Go and read the stats and come back buddy. and dont compare MSD's bat, keep against ABD's cuz abd batting is of perfection and timings not like dhonis. ABD's acrobatic skills cant match dhoni's so pls..

  • Baseball-Sucks on May 28, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    @GRVJPR ; lol Dude, its you who use the IPL (T20) yardstick to measure up the form of batsmen like Sanga n Mahela. We don't literally give a rat .... about T20 or how our batsmen performed in the IPL. If your UV is so great how come he has been thrown outta team ? lol Do you know how vulnerable your batsmen are for short balls ? lol What you do think they r gonna face in English bouncy pitches ? You no.1 in ODI's due the misfortune suffered by Saffers against NZ. So don't be overconfident. Aye..... lol

  • GRVJPR on May 28, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks You judje people forms by Slog cricket (T-20 cricket). I am speechless. And you saying India has no chance. The current no 1 ODI team, the current world cup champions have no chance. It must be something other than cricket that makes you say this. Because logic and form doesn't agree with you. I am completely SPEECHLESS!

  • GRVJPR on May 28, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks I remember you saying same thing in 2011 world cup, that yuvraj is horribly out of form. He was man of the series and one of the greatest tournament winners of India right from his debut series which was champions trophy as well. About sehwag you said that he doesn't have technique even to hold the bat. Well he has more triple centuries then your favorite so called greats. As far as India is concerned same thing is being said from last 5 years yet they maintained their no 1 ODI team ranking consistently. It will be a huge upset if sri lanka or any other mediocre team advances to semis.

  • seanL on May 29, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Hey everybody who wants to compare AB devillers with dhoni , hey go n do something else. You cant compare AB technique & skills, He is top class batsman, Dhoni is only a hitter. unfortunately no one ( including AB) understand AB batting capability & fielding skills. For me AB is the most talented & no.01 batman in the world. Even amla, clarke are not better than AB. Anytime AB can slow or fast according to the situation. We want him to bat in no.3 or 4 in both formats. If he is open the inning he will break all the batting records. Compare his techniques, stats n everything. SA has given Wicket keeping to AB n we lost to see world best fielders fielding skills, this is absolutely ridiculous. we want world best fielder back on the cricket field

  • Shongololo on May 29, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Oh it is, duncanmoo. He was treated shabbily by the powers that be, had to look on while lesser players were selected above him, had no financial security as a player in South Africa and that forced him to move to Aus, where he is respected, selected or dropped on merit alone and is doing a fine job taking South Australia out of its long-inhabited cricketing doldrums.

  • gibbs.175 on May 29, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    OK ..GRANT KING>...as you wish ...but i want this ICC trophy in SOUTHAFRICA (HANDS ) Im an INDIAN ...but i watching...praying for SA since 1992....good luck

  • andrew27994 on May 28, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    Though I'm disapointed that Kallis won't be playing, I'm very excited to see Duminy make his return in the CT. With no Kallis in the setup, Duminy might be given a different role for the side depending on the match situation, of course.

  • andrew27994 on May 28, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks : Don't worry about us mate, our batting lineup is less likely to suffer a major collapse. I wonder how are SL batsmen going to survive good pace attacks like England and Australia. Yes, I know SL have had the better of Australia in recent times but Australia always bring on a formidable side in major tournaments and the conditions are more suitable to them than for Sri Lanka.

    Our bowling attack is good enough to disturb any side amd we have enough variety too. Irfan Pathan will need to be the spearhead of the attack and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar will be the bowler to watch out in this tournament.

  • duncanmoo on May 28, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    @ Shongololo Johan Botha took himself out of the picture and moved to Australia. Good for him if he went where the money is for him, SA's loss totally, but it is not a selection policy thing.

  • on May 28, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    @GRVJPR.. Dude How come you saying that India maintained No 1 consistently for last five years. Go and read the stats and come back buddy. and dont compare MSD's bat, keep against ABD's cuz abd batting is of perfection and timings not like dhonis. ABD's acrobatic skills cant match dhoni's so pls..

  • Baseball-Sucks on May 28, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    @GRVJPR ; lol Dude, its you who use the IPL (T20) yardstick to measure up the form of batsmen like Sanga n Mahela. We don't literally give a rat .... about T20 or how our batsmen performed in the IPL. If your UV is so great how come he has been thrown outta team ? lol Do you know how vulnerable your batsmen are for short balls ? lol What you do think they r gonna face in English bouncy pitches ? You no.1 in ODI's due the misfortune suffered by Saffers against NZ. So don't be overconfident. Aye..... lol

  • GRVJPR on May 28, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks You judje people forms by Slog cricket (T-20 cricket). I am speechless. And you saying India has no chance. The current no 1 ODI team, the current world cup champions have no chance. It must be something other than cricket that makes you say this. Because logic and form doesn't agree with you. I am completely SPEECHLESS!

  • GRVJPR on May 28, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks I remember you saying same thing in 2011 world cup, that yuvraj is horribly out of form. He was man of the series and one of the greatest tournament winners of India right from his debut series which was champions trophy as well. About sehwag you said that he doesn't have technique even to hold the bat. Well he has more triple centuries then your favorite so called greats. As far as India is concerned same thing is being said from last 5 years yet they maintained their no 1 ODI team ranking consistently. It will be a huge upset if sri lanka or any other mediocre team advances to semis.

  • Baseball-Sucks on May 28, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    @GRVJPR ; LOL , Do you know why UV, Sehwag , Zaheer have been dropped ? Its coz they are horribly out of form. Actually, their presence would have made things much more easier for others. lol Still team India is an easy prey* for SA,PAK n WI. lol I honestly don't see then advance to the semis. Semifinalists = G 1 - SL n ENG . G 2 - SA n PAK .

  • Baseball-Sucks on May 28, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    @GRVJPR ; LOL , Do you know why UV, Sehwag , Zaheer have been dropped ? Its coz they are horribly out of form. Actually, their presence would have made things much more easier for others. lol Still team India is an easy pray for SA,PAK n WI. lol I honestly don't see then advance to the semis. Semifinalists = G 1 - SL n ENG . G 2 - SA n PAK .

  • on May 28, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Gibbs 175. Peterson, maclaren can bat. Not good as out and out batsmen but can do a job.

  • Shongololo on May 28, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    I feel South Africa would be immeasurably better off with Johan Botha and Hashim Amla as leadership support for AB. Hash the intelligent, quietly-spoken gentleman and Jo by far the best ODI spin option in the country. He's also an experienced leader and thinking cricketer whose counsel would be valued. But that's SA's flawed selection policy at work again. Thankfully, we won't have to watch Smith scratching his chin - and other parts - and driving expansively at deliveries way outside off...only to be caught at third slip. No, we won't miss him a jot, he has been an ODI passenger for a good few years.

  • Night_Fury on May 28, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    As always i feel SA are firm favorites not because of batting but the sheer class of there bowling. Next in line is England as they are playing at home and they also got wonderful bowling line up. But i feel we all are going to be surprised by WI. With rampaul,gayle,pollard,bravo,sammy,smith and sunil narine, I got to say they got both class and power in all departments. Pakistan is always mercurial. I feel these would be taking top 4 spots. Australia might sneak in. Cant see any chance of NZ and SL making the top 4. As an indian my heart believes that India might win but my brain says it might not be possible. I see India winning 0/1 match in the round-robin stage. Disappointing but true. The performance will tell us how we are going to defend our world-championship title in Australia

  • GRVJPR on May 28, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    How many ICC championships They have won even with Smith and Kallis? between saying that AB devillers has to keep, captain, and bat -- well that's what MS Dhoni is doinly from years. While 99.99% people aren't giving young and inexperienced Indian side, both in bowling and batting, but they will prove everyone wrong. Although no yuvraj, Sehwag, Sachin, Zaheer, etc will make things little easier for opposition.

  • Marktc on May 28, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    I think the mere fact that SA are going into a tournament, places pressure on them to go far due to the choke stigma haunting them. There is no reason SA cannot take this one. Jithesh....Alviro is an opening batsman and you cannot compare him to albie, who is not on great form and is really a good middle order finisher and to Richard, who is a T20 player, who also is not on wow form. Alviro has a good, calm head and is a good replacement for Smith. He also comes with valuable experience. SA_Fan..fully agree...the test bowlers have loads of experience and should be considered leaders as well. Think Sa will miss Smith more than Kallis.

  • CricketMaan on May 28, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Favourites in that order - England, Pakistan, Aus, SL, India, SA, Windies, NZ. Suprise could be if Windies, Pak, SL, Ind make last 4 otherwise two or all of Eng, Aus, SA might make SF.

  • gibbs.175 on May 27, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    good chances ..but long tail batting like Maclaren, peterson,Dale, morkel,sobe or Rory..

  • on May 27, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    This time the cup is for you. Take my word less expectation will reduce the pressure.

  • SA_Fan_CPT on May 27, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    Its not only the batsman that should step up with leadership roles. Guys like Steyn and Morkel might have played less ODIs than Duminy but they are vastly experienced in Test matches etc, regardless of the different tactics in other formats. Tsotsobe is also the number 5 bowler in the world in ODI's. Combined we have a very experienced attack. I am glad the step-up Robbie Petersen has made, but Johan Botha's added experience would also have been nice addition to the squad.

  • AKS286 on May 27, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Excellent opportunities for FaF, Miller, Ingram to prove themselves. With the experience blend of Amla, AB, Duminy. but i think SA is having better options than Alviro. and kindly no Mclaren.

  • Kush58 on May 27, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    Been supporting the Proteas since the age of 9. I was living in Nepal back then. 24 now and living in England with the Proteas still close to my heart. So excited to watch them for the first time against Pakistan in Edgbaston. Never thought I'd get to do that. Gutted that Kallis pulled out and Smith's injured.

  • on May 27, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    Amla is amazing as a human being and I guess this hinders him from being a good leader; who often has to order, command, criticize and be rude to the team.

  • on May 27, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    S.A ROCKZZ,BUT Albie or Richard Levi should have been in the squad repalcing Alviro peterson..

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  • on May 27, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    S.A ROCKZZ,BUT Albie or Richard Levi should have been in the squad repalcing Alviro peterson..

  • on May 27, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    Amla is amazing as a human being and I guess this hinders him from being a good leader; who often has to order, command, criticize and be rude to the team.

  • Kush58 on May 27, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    Been supporting the Proteas since the age of 9. I was living in Nepal back then. 24 now and living in England with the Proteas still close to my heart. So excited to watch them for the first time against Pakistan in Edgbaston. Never thought I'd get to do that. Gutted that Kallis pulled out and Smith's injured.

  • AKS286 on May 27, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Excellent opportunities for FaF, Miller, Ingram to prove themselves. With the experience blend of Amla, AB, Duminy. but i think SA is having better options than Alviro. and kindly no Mclaren.

  • SA_Fan_CPT on May 27, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    Its not only the batsman that should step up with leadership roles. Guys like Steyn and Morkel might have played less ODIs than Duminy but they are vastly experienced in Test matches etc, regardless of the different tactics in other formats. Tsotsobe is also the number 5 bowler in the world in ODI's. Combined we have a very experienced attack. I am glad the step-up Robbie Petersen has made, but Johan Botha's added experience would also have been nice addition to the squad.

  • on May 27, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    This time the cup is for you. Take my word less expectation will reduce the pressure.

  • gibbs.175 on May 27, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    good chances ..but long tail batting like Maclaren, peterson,Dale, morkel,sobe or Rory..

  • CricketMaan on May 28, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Favourites in that order - England, Pakistan, Aus, SL, India, SA, Windies, NZ. Suprise could be if Windies, Pak, SL, Ind make last 4 otherwise two or all of Eng, Aus, SA might make SF.

  • Marktc on May 28, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    I think the mere fact that SA are going into a tournament, places pressure on them to go far due to the choke stigma haunting them. There is no reason SA cannot take this one. Jithesh....Alviro is an opening batsman and you cannot compare him to albie, who is not on great form and is really a good middle order finisher and to Richard, who is a T20 player, who also is not on wow form. Alviro has a good, calm head and is a good replacement for Smith. He also comes with valuable experience. SA_Fan..fully agree...the test bowlers have loads of experience and should be considered leaders as well. Think Sa will miss Smith more than Kallis.

  • GRVJPR on May 28, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    How many ICC championships They have won even with Smith and Kallis? between saying that AB devillers has to keep, captain, and bat -- well that's what MS Dhoni is doinly from years. While 99.99% people aren't giving young and inexperienced Indian side, both in bowling and batting, but they will prove everyone wrong. Although no yuvraj, Sehwag, Sachin, Zaheer, etc will make things little easier for opposition.