Ever since the South African team arrived in England for the World Cup, the players have faced a common question: Is this the last international assignment for Hashim Amla?
The team had so far kept the suspense going. But on Friday, after it defeated Sri Lanka by nine wickets, captain Faf du Plessis revealed that the 36-year-old is not calling it a day after the World Cup.
“He said he wants to keep going, so I think, you leave it to a great player to make that decision himself,” du Plessis said.
After its last game against Australia gets over next Saturday, two of South Africa’s long-serving cricketers -- Imran Tahir and Jean-Paul Duminy -- will hang up the boots. And with Amla in an indifferent form, speculations were rife that he even might walk into retirement.
“I see certainly great players almost planning their exit so, you know, if Hash is doing well and he still wants to play, he will keep playing,” du Plessis said.
After failing to convert good starts, Amla played a determined knock of 80 against Sri Lanka at the Riverside to restore pride.
“Obviously, performances would be important for him to make sure (he is around). If you are not consistently putting the runs on the board and someone else is pushing you out the team, then you are competing with someone else,” du Plessis said.
The captain admitted that the Cricket South Africa bosses would meet up once the team heads home to talk future. “There will be a sitting down I’m sure after this World Cup where whoever decides what’s the way forward… You know, that discussion will happen then…” he said.
As he spoke about the road ahead, du Plessis, obviously, was asked about why the team couldn’t play the way it did against Sri Lanka. And he admitted that, “chasing 200 is obviously a little bit easier than chasing 350.”
“I can’t give you the answer why it hasn’t happened before. Just today was -- you know, Dwaine (Pretorius) didn't play the previous games, so maybe in English conditions he worked really well today and our plan was especially on this wicket, the slower the bowler the harder it is to face, so it worked out perfectly that he was the guy that was going to be successful.”
“And then with the bat, the guys have been batting well but only for short periods. If you get in, someone to bat through the innings, it then becomes easier. So, it's just probably doing the basics better today than we've done in the tournament….”
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