Western Province’s preparations for the new Cricket SA first-class structure have been hampered by the collapse of Proteas legend Hashim Amla’s proposed move to Newlands.
Amla, 38, is the latest loss for WP after former coach Ashwell Prince permanently joined the Bangladesh coaching staff last month as a batting consultant, and Vernon Philander accepted an offer to be Pakistan’s bowling coach for the T20 World Cup on Monday.
Philander was set to captain the WP first-class team next season, but talks about former Proteas seamers’ playing futures are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, Amla, who was originally named to the WP squad for the 2021/22 season, will no longer be wearing the blue and white. “I have always enjoyed my time playing at Newlands for the Cape Cobras and working as the batting consultant at the Cape Town Blitz and I want to thank Western Province for their open communication throughout the entire contracting,” says Amla.
“I have made this decision based on where I am currently in my career and with a view to my future endeavours. I want to wish the squad all the best for the coming season.”
Ismail Kajee, Amla’s agent, told SurgeZirc Sport, “Western Province have been great and we hope that Hashim will be able to contribute to the team in some way in the future.”
South Africa’s highest Test scorer has remained active since retiring from international cricket following the 2019 World Cup, having recently finished a successful season with Surrey CC in the English County Championship.
Despite his advanced age, the veteran demonstrated his famed concentration skills with a marathon 37 not out off 278 balls, part of batting out the entire final day, to save a match for Surrey against Hampshire. Amla has amassed 771 runs in 12 matches so far, including an undefeated 215 at an average of 51.40.
Amla’s absence is a significant loss for Six Gun Grill Western Province, not only because of his potential run-scoring contributions but also because of the role he would have played in the development of young batters like Tony de Zorzi and Jonno Bird.
Province has yet to finalize the appointment of their new coach, with Faiek Davids serving as interim coach for the time being. Former Proteas pace bowler Roger Telemachus and former Proteas Women’s assistant coach Saliegh Nackerdien have both interviewed for the position of head coach.
Telemachus is the current WP u-19 coach, and Nackerdien is the batting coach for the GBets Rocks at Boland Park. Former Highveld Lions and current Titans assistant coach Geoff Toyana have also been linked with the vacant position, while recently resigned Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe’s current availability may make him an appealing option as well.
The full WP squad for the 2021/22 season:
Zubayr Hamza, Kyle Verreynne, George Linde, Tony De Zorzi, Nandre Burger, Yaseen Vallie, Kyle Simmonds, Jonathan Bird, Mihlali Mpongwana, Tshepo Moreki, David Bedingham, Aviwe Mgijima, *Vernon Philander, Basheer Walters, Wayne Parnell, Beuran Hendricks (national contract)