Galle: Hashim Amla will make history on Wednesday when he takes the field as South Africa’s first permanent non-white skipper, helming a team in transition after the retirements of Test greats Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.
Amla, a devout Muslim, was named captain last month after Smith retired from international cricket, signalling the end of an era which saw him lead out the Proteas a record-breaking 109 times over ten years.
Thirty-one-year-old Amla is the first non-white player to captain the Test side in a full-time capacity — Ashwell Prince has skippered on a stand-in basis.
His appointment was seen in race-conscious South Africa as evidence that cricket there is serious about racial transformation.
A two-Test series against Sri Lanka in Galle starting Wednesday is Amla’s first assignment as South Africa look to rebuild in the absence of Smith, all-rounder Kallis and experienced wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
Amla, who has often shied away from the public eye, has urged patience, saying it will take time for a successful new side to gel.