Morkel vows to make Amla's life easier

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New South Africa Test captain Hashim Amla can rest assured that when he leads the team against Sri Lanka in July, he will have the full backing of his senior players, who have vowed to make the transition as easy as possible.

New South Africa Test captain Hashim Amla can rest assured that when he leads the team against Sri Lanka in July, he will have the full backing of his senior players, who have vowed to make the transition as easy as possible.

Amla will take over from Graeme Smith, who retired after more than 10 years in the role, in Sri Lanka, after beating AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis to the job earlier this month, after a long process by the board.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel told <i>Times Media</i>: "We want to play well for Hashim to make his job a little bit easier. A leader doesn't have to talk. If a leader scores runs and does well, that's when people will follow him.

"Hashim ticks all those boxes. He bats in tough conditions and scores runs. When guys are bowling fast, he fronts up. Those are the signs of a quality leader.

"It's not all about words. It's also about fronting up, and that's what he does so well. Hashim has been leading in the back room while Graeme has been captain.

"Guys like him and AB (de Villiers) talk a lot in the dressing room and in team chats. But Hashim is wearing the captain's armband now, and whoever walks onto the field will back him."

Batting all-rounder JP Duminy agreed, saying he didn't anticipate too much a of a change behind the scenes, as the team environment was already a fairly open and relaxed one.

He said: "Small things will change, but we understand what we are trying to stand for so I don't think there will be many changes.

"What's been healthy over the last couple of years is that guys who have stepped into the national team are free to express themselves. That's a real strong point for us."

Team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee downplayed Amla's seeming reluctance to take the job, saying: "There's a perception that Hashim is a reluctant leader but he's always been very methodical in his preparation.

"He doesn't leave much to chance, he's very principled, and he's been the leader in the environment without having the title."

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