Amla: I really started thinking about it when Graeme stepped down

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Batsman Hashim Amla has confirmed a new ambition to the veteran Graeme Smith as South African Test captain.

Batsman Hashim Amla has confirmed a new ambition to the veteran Graeme Smith as South African Test captain.

Smith retired from international cricket earlier this year, on the back of a series defeat to Australia, and has since signed a lucrative contract with Surrey in English county cricket.

The 31-year-old Amla, who relinquished the ODI and Twenty20 International vice-captaincy in February 2013, availed himself to the Test leadership this week.

"I really started thinking about it for the first time when Graeme stepped down and some of the players approached me who thought I could do it, and from there on I began to consider it. I spoke to some people close to me," Amla told the <i>Cape Times</i>.

"I don't think there is one significant factor but rather that I have the belief now that having played 10 years of international cricket. I believe I can add value to the team.

"My mind is always active on the field, you can ask any of the guys. I'm always involved in the game, thinking up plans. I feel I would like to explore that more should the board give me the opportunity."

ODI skipper AB de Villiers, Twenty20 International captain Faf du Plessis have been listed as possible replacements, while batsman JP Duminy is also in contention, albeit marginally.

The Proteas will tour Sri Lanka for two Tests in July, meet Zimbabwe for a one-off fixture at the Harare Sports Club in August – and contest three more with the West Indies in Centurion, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town in December through January.

"I think collectively too, we have a group of players that have played close to 10 years of international cricket which has allowed us to create a bigger leadership group where we collectively take responsibility," added Amla.

"And that is why whether I get it the captaincy, AB, Faf, JP or anybody else for that matter, the captain-elect will have the support of the entire leadership group."

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