Amla grabs his opportunity

Few people would have thought of Hashim Amla as a prospect for the Proteas' Standard Bank ODI squad up to a few months ago.

Few people would have thought of Hashim Amla as a prospect for the Proteas' Standard Bank ODI squad up to a few months ago.

Indeed, he only made his limited-overs debut in the series against Bangladesh back in March.

Graeme Smith's unfortunate injury has given the young Nashua Dolphin a bigger and more significant stage on which to stake his claim for a more permanent role and he did his stakes a world of good in Friday's third ODI of the current series against England at the Brit Oval.

He was disappointed not to kick on to a more substantial score than his innings of 46 but he did display all the attributes required of a top-order batsmen in ODIs.

More importantly, he fits in perfectly with coach Mickey Arthur's vision of building a new, young ODI team to take South Africa forward to the 2011 World Cup.

"We have lost a number of key players such as Shaun Pollock and Charl Langeveldt while there are others who went to the last World Cup and formed an important part of our overall depth who are also out of the picture," commented coach Mickey Arthur.

"Our ODI side is now where our Castle Test side was two years ago.

"It is a work in progress that needs to peak at the time of the next World Cup. I will be taking a close look at the youngsters currently in the team and others outside the squad who can come through and stake permanent places.

"We have lost this series 3-0 but I want the players to see the remaining two matches as a mini-series to be won. There are a lot of places on the line at the moment."

Amla and Johan Botha and, to a lesser extent, the Morkel brothers, were the only players to come out of Friday's encounter with much credit. - Sapa

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