He has long been the banker in the Proteas batting line-up, but Hashim Amla has had slim returns over the last few seasons.
The veteran batsman has had a tough time of it in the Mzansi Super League (MSL), averaging a paltry 10.14 for the Durban Heat, and his form for the national team leading up to the competition has also not been anything flash.
In the past year, Hashim Amla has averaged 24.38, almost half his career average of 47.23, which itself has been brought down by a long, lean spell.
Since January, he has failed to reach the three-figure mark in 18 innings, where he has scored four half-centuries, three of those coming in the Proteas’ first Test series of the year against India.
Ottis Gibson bats for Hashim Amla, with a busy summer looming, with next year’s Cricket World Cup now on the horizon, national coach Ottis Gibson came out in defence of the player, who missed South Africa’s recent tour to Australia due to injury.
“For him (Amla), it is to get back to the nets and work on the things that he needs to work on‚, but he is an experienced player for us.
“He had dips in form, but he knows what he needs to do. I have spoken to him since I arrived in the country on Wednesday night and he will be desperate to get back into action. I have no concerns.”
Proteas summer schedule: The Proteas welcome a touring Pakistan later this month, with three Tests scheduled between 26 December 2018 and 15 January 2019.
The two sides next square off in a five-match ODI series starting on 22 January, before playing three T20 Internationals.
Next to visit these shores is Sri Lanka, who arrive in the middle of February for two Tests, five ODIs and three T20 Internationals.