World T20 2016 March 27, 2016

Amla insists South Africa stars are not finished yet

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Hashim Amla remains adamant that, despite South Africa's failure to progress to the World T20 semi-finals, their much-vaunted senior players will refocus on the 2017 Champions Trophy in England in an attempt to add a limited-overs medal to their cricketing CVs.

Ahead of South Africa's dead-rubber against Sri Lanka on Monday, Amla insisted that he will join AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and Imran Tahir in proving that they still have the capacity to succeed in major international tournaments.

"A lot of us are extremely keen to keep playing international cricket," Amla said. "It's something we've enjoyed. A lot of us feel like we've got a few more years left in us.

"It would be great if we can make it to the next 50-over World Cup - that would be ideal. But first we've got a Champions Trophy next year. As long as you are fit and healthy and scoring runs and you warrant your place in the team then hopefully you can make it."

Although there has not been yet been much dissection of South Africa's exit - perhaps because they still have a game to play - one of the inevitable questions will be about the future of some the squad.

De Villiers, for example, has been outspoken about managing his workload. Considering his roles as captain in both Test and ODI cricket and a packed schedule of T20 leagues including the IPL and CPL in 2016, leaving international T20s behind may be an option.

The same can be asked of Dale Steyn, who spent all but two days of the summer injured and was carefully brought back for this tournament but then only played one match. But Amla dismissed ideas that either of them is considering phasing themselves out.

"The whole rumour of AB retiring was before I gave up the Test captaincy and I think it was just that: a rumour," he said. "There are no issues whatsoever. Everyone is really passionate and desirous of doing well. We're just hoping we can play good cricket and at the next ICC event have a better performance."

Steyn only played South Africa's opener against England before South Africa opted for the pace-off-the-ball bowling of David Wiese, even at the Wankhede where the quicker bowlers had more in their favour.

Amla defended Steyn's non-selection as a logical thought process. "Before coming to this tournament, the captain and the coach talked about picking the right team for the venue or the wicket," he said.

"In Mumbai, with a smaller field and a lot of boundary hitting, the quick bowlers came into the picture a lot more," he said. "In Nagpur, the slower bowlers were more effective. I can understand why the captain and coach opted for David Wiese."

That wasn't the only selection question South Africa faced.

AB de Villiers had been playing as an opener until the tournament began, which led to questions about his reversion to the middle order. JP Duminy's hamstring injury just as he returned to form also meant that South Africa's middle order was weakened ahead of the vital tie against the West Indies.

The fact that South Africa's key batsmen failed to fire was identified by critics back home as a key reason for their inability to advance to the knockouts but when Amla was asked if he felt de Villiers and Duminy had given the team enough, he displayed rare irritation. "Is that a serious question? Really?" he asked. "Next one, please."

Instead, Amla put South Africa's performances down to lack of cohesion as a unit and did not place any individual blame. "We haven't played our best cricket throughout. We haven't had a game where our batting and our bowling has clicked in the same game."

All hope had not gone, he said, issuing a familiar message. "This team will win a World Cup or an ICC tournament at some stage." Just not this time.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ssmalli on March 28, 2016, 21:44 GMT

    ABD is a good player in tests because of less time pressure. In onedays and T20 i don't think he was able to handle the pressure. SA wins most of their games batting first.

  • Coolcapricorn on March 28, 2016, 15:02 GMT

    @ ALTAFPATEL Perhaps Kolhi hitting 4 Test centuries in a Test series in Australia last year plus doing exceedingly well in the T20 series played there earlier this year was a figment of my imagination! Do also remember that at 27 years old, he is around 5/6 years younger than both ABD & Amla and still has to reach his peak as a batsman - so his Test batting record too is only bound to get much better in the coming years.

  • jb633 on March 28, 2016, 14:10 GMT

    @vkumar - KP scoring 186 on an absolute bunsen burner is the best innings I have seen a foreign batsmen play in India. In terms of innings in England, Amla scored them on an absolute road. The best innings I have ever seen in England was the hundred scored by Rahul Dravid at Headingley in 2002. The next best was Ponting's 150 at Old Trafford in the 2005 Ashes.

  • StevieS on March 28, 2016, 13:53 GMT

    vkumar_086 amla the best batsman in all formats? Is that the punchline of some joke? What does he average in wc games, the only ones that mater, 10?

  • vkumar_086 on March 28, 2016, 13:12 GMT

    @ALTAFPATEL...I agree with you, Amla is the best batsman in all formats right now...his 311 in England is the latest great innings I have seen on foreign soil (Rahane's century in Lord's test is next)...Amla also having better conversion rate & average in ODI's,,,his strike rate & average is also good in T20I...Kohli comes next to him followed by AB...Amla is the only SAf batsman who plays well in pressure situations...

  • AltafPatel on March 28, 2016, 12:44 GMT

    Faf needs to exit as a captain and batsman.

  • AltafPatel on March 28, 2016, 12:43 GMT

    @SANDY_BANGALORE Agree with AB's facts but not with Amla. He won SA matches single handedly so many times. His far better test record than Kohli tells all the stories. Also, Kohli bats well only at home conditions. In away, he becomes very ordinary batsman, whereas Amla scored in every countries.

  • AltafPatel on March 28, 2016, 12:40 GMT

    SA the only team not to reach final of any form of world Cup. Because they rely more on on-paper theories than practicality.

  • AltafPatel on March 28, 2016, 12:38 GMT

    Since 1998 mini world Cup, SA hasn't won single big title. Ridiculous wasteful abilities.

  • blahblah1234567 on March 28, 2016, 11:48 GMT

    guys if kohli played an excellent knock u can't go around comparing him to these greats like AB and SRT, these people built their career for 10-20 years and kohli played an amazing knock but why r u throwing AB under the bus. AB isn't his best at t20s but he doesn't have the be compared with kohli. AB is very much a free stroking player while kohli is limited to his very good technique. AB has changed the game by playing shots some people wouldn't imagine doing and by not winning 3 t20 games won't change how I see him

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