The big talking point in the aftermath of the second Test between South Africa and England at Newlands was obviously the decision made by Hashim Amla to relinquish his role as captain.
It means that when the squad regroups in Johannesburg on Monday it will instead be AB de Villiers dealing with the extra responsibilities that come with leading the world’s best Test outfit as they prepare for the third encounter at Wanderers.
Switching captains midway through the series could well be problematic as far as dressing room dynamics go but former Proteas batsman, Boeta Dippenaar, doesn’t envisage any real change.
“I don’t see an awful lot changing. You might find the captaincy comes more naturally to the type of personality that AB is as opposed to Hashim. The one has captained the other format in the past where Hashim was player in the team and I don’t think that it will change anything,” he said yesterday.
But it’s not to say that Amla’s influence on the team will be diminished in any way, especially now that he’s rediscovered form with the bat after a fantastic double century in Cape Town.
“I will say that you don’t have to be a captain to be a leader and I think the influence that Hashim Amla has on the team might be even more significant when he’s not captain.”
“I think it speaks volumes for the man to realise the situation. His decision needs to be respected. That is probably the type of role that is more natural to Hashim Amla than being in the spotlight,” Dippenaar said.
He’s hoping that a clear mind will now help Amla, the rock of South Africa’s batting lineup, help the side put in a big effort as they claw their way back into the series after losing in Durban
“Hopefully we just see some more stability in terms of the top order. We have certainly seen in the last year the difficulty that the South African top order sat with with the fact that Amla didn’t consistently score runs as he did in the past.
“If he can get the type of form back, and he showed it at Newlands, it suddenly gives a new dimension to the way the south african batting lineup functions as a unit,” said Dippenaar.
He also feels that De Villiers is probably first choice for the selectors as far as the captaincy goes before a successor can be groomed.
“I can’t say there is anybody else that sticks his hand up for me in the same sense. I would imagine that someone like AB could do it for the next two years and in a year’s time you start identifying who could take over from him.”
“This certainly is something AB has wanted all his life and I think it will give his Test career a boost and he might try for longer in the longer format of the game,” said Dippenaar.