No complacency against Zim: Amla

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SOUTH Africa Test cricket captain Hashim Amla yesterday ruled out any complacency from his team, saying they would be aiming to play intense cricket during the one-off Test against the hosts starting on Saturday at Harare Sports Club.

Hashim-Amla-1DANIEL NHAKANISO
SPORTS REPORTER

The Proteas, who recently reclaimed their number one position on the ICC Test rankings, recently made their intensions of convincingly winning the one-off Test clear by naming a full-strength side.

Addressing a press conference at a local hotel after his team’s arrival in the capital yesterday, Amla said after reclaiming the number one position in the world his charges would not rest on their laurels, but would play aggressive cricket like what they always do in the longer format of the game.

“Naturally people will expect the team that’s ranked higher to perform better,” said Amla, who was accompanied by coach Russel Domingo.

“We are happy to be in Zimbabwe. It’s a nice place to be and we want to win the game. We are going to try and play the game as intensely as we play every Test match. Test cricket is not something that you take for granted weather you’re ranked at the top or the bottom. On any given day someone could perform well, so we are not going to be taking it any lightly.”

Asked what he was expecting from the Zimbabwe team, Amla said while he had not monitored the team’s progress during their recent matches against Afghanistan, he still expected a competitive series. Zimbabwe will head into the upcoming series against South Africa after wasting an opportunity for a rare home series whitewash against the visiting Afghanistan cricket team.

The hosts were held to a 2-2 draw in the four-match one-day international series, while the two-match four-day series was also drawn 1-1.

“We are here to play our brand of cricket, whatever Zimbabwe brings to the table would be fantastic. It will all add to that competition. I haven’t really followed Zimbabwe’s progress during the Afghanistan series recently because we were playing our own series in Sri Lanka, but as Russell alluded to, everytime we have been to Zimbabwe there’s always been good competition.

“The one-dayers have been good. I don’t think we have played a Test here recently, but I have no doubt the Test will also be competitive. Zimbabwe, we know, is a proud country and South Africa is also a proud cricketing nation, so it will be a good challenge for both teams,” he said.

The lone Test match starting on Saturday will be the South Africans’ first since 2001 when the Proteas won 1-0, winning the first Test at Harare Sports Club by nine wickets before the second Test at Queens Sports Club ended in a draw.

South Africa Test squad
Hashim Amla (capt), AB de Villiers (vice-capt), Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl