Johannesburg: Hashim Amla will make his international captaincy debut for South Africa in their upcoming T20 and ODI series against Australia. He replaces the injured AB de Villiers, who was named captain in both limited-overs formats in June. The series were due to be de Villiers' first as skipper but he was ruled out for between four and six weeks after breaking a finger while practicing with the Royal Challengers Bangalore during the Champions League.
Amla was chosen as de Villiers' vice-captain but there was speculation that he would not captain the side straight away, having never done the job before, and described himself as "more of a backroom guy." But the selectors have shown faith in their decisions and handed Amla the leadership role in both formats. Amla has only played three T20s for South Africa, but has plenty of experience in ODIs, having played 49 matches and is currently ranked the top batsman in the 50-over format.
de Villiers' absence also meant that South Africa had to search for a new wicketkeeper and have turned to an old favourite. Mark Boucher has been recalled to the ODI side having last played an ODI on South Africa's tour of West Indies in May last year. He was left out of the squad that took part in the World Cup earlier and had made public his desire to return to the limited-overs format of the game, insisting he has plenty of offer in that department. Heino Kuhn has been named wicketkeeper for the T20s while Morne van Wyk, who took part in the World Cup and can bat in the top five, has been excluded from both squads.
Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors, doesn't believe the one-day squad needs to be tampered with much, despite the disappointing World Cup campaign where South Africa crashed out in the quarter-finals. Boucher's inclusion will beef up the middle order along with David Miller, who replaces Colin Ingram. There are plenty of options in the bowling department, with all three spinners who did duty in the World Cup being retained, but no space for Albie Morkel who is only in the T20 squad.
"We will probably go in with seven batsmen, including Boucher at No. 7, and we have kept all our bowling options that worked well at the World Cup," Hudson said. "We will be able to go in with four specialist bowlers plus the back-up of Kallis, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis."
The only new cap is in the T20 squad which includes Cobras opening batsman Richard Levi. He has had an impressive run of form domestically and scored 43 off 27 balls in the team's Champions League opener against New South Wales. With the mix of youth and experience in the T20 squad Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn are being rested.
Both are taking part in the ongoing Champions League, and have enjoyed five months away from cricket since the end of the IPL, but Hudson said leaving them out was part of CSA's rotation policy. Imran Tahir, who burst onto the international scene at the World Cup, and took 17 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 16.88 for Hampshire in the English Friends Life t20 domestic tournament, has not been included in the T20 squad.
"With the ICC World Twenty20 less than a year away we need to keep a solid core of experience around the side," Hudson said. "At the same time we want to give younger players a run as well and this certainly applies in the case of Richard Levi and David Miller. We don't have a lot of T20 International matches before the ICC event so it is important that we give the likes of Levi, Miller and Colin Ingram an extended run."
Graeme Smith, who stepped down as T20 captain in August last year and ODI captain after the World Cup, and batted for the first time in a competitive match after having knee surgery for the first time on Saturday, has been named in both squads.
South Africa's series against Australia starts with a T20 on October 13 in Cape Town and that will be followed by another T20 in Johannesburg then three ODIs. The two-Test series starts on November 7 and the Test squad will be announced after three more rounds of SuperSport Series matches.
ODI squad: Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, David Miller, Morne Morkel , Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
T20 squad: Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Heino Kuhn, Richard Levi, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell , Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.