Men's ODI World Cup 2019
SA face tough Amla call for World Cup
Veteran in danger of being dropped as South Africa prepare to name their squad for the World Cup
16 April 2019, 02:02 PM AEST
South Africa's selectors will reveal on Thursday whether veteran batsman Hashim Amla will be part of the country's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Amla, 36, is one of the game’s all-time great one-day international players but his recent form has been poor, while increasing age has meant that he has slowed down in the field.
Amla scored only 51 runs in four innings in South Africa's shock Test series loss against Sri Lanka earlier this year and did not play in the first three one-day internationals against the tourists, although Cricket South Africa stressed he had not been dropped.
He was due to play the final two one-day games against Sri Lanka but withdrew because his father was seriously ill.
After more than a month out of cricket, Amla returned for the Cape Cobras franchise in a domestic Twenty20 competition in early April but his first three matches yielded only 28 runs.
He showed signs of promise for the Cobras on Sunday with an innings of 32, his joint-highest score in any form of cricket since a one-day series against Pakistan in January.
In his past 50 international innings across all formats, stretching back to October 2017, Amla has scored just one century.
It’s the first prolonged run drought of Amla’s stellar career, particularly in ODI cricket, where he holds the record as the fastest batsman to every 1000-run milestone between 2000 and 7000 and is on track to be the fastest to 8000 as well.
For all of Virat Kohli’s dominance of ODI cricket, Amla has made a habit of chasing down the Indian maestro to each 1000-run milestone; Kohli was the fastest to 5000, 6000 and 7000 runs before Amla got there faster than him.
With captain Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and JP Duminy all seemingly certain of selection, there is probably room for only two more top-order batsmen in a 15-man squad.
Amla's rivals for a spot, Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks, have both been in good recent form, with Hendricks named man-of-the-series in the recent Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka after a poor one-day series had seemingly scuttled his chances.
Markram and Hendricks are also outstanding fielders.
The other big debate ahead of the squad announcement is the identity of a back-up fast bowler to the likely trio of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi.
Newcomer Anrich Nortje was impressive in the one-day series against Sri Lanka and although he was forced to withdraw from the Indian Premier League with a shoulder injury, he is expected to be fit for the World Cup.
While he has not played in a one-day international since February last year, Chris Morris has been picked by several experts in their preferred World Cup squads because he can bowl at more than 140 kph and is a hard-hitting lower-order batsman.
Three wickets for the Delhi Capitals against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday took his total to 11 in six matches in this year's IPL.
Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius are likely to be picked as all-rounders, while Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi are South Africa's probable spin bowlers.
It is unlikely that a back-up wicketkeeper to De Kock will be chosen, with Miller seemingly being groomed as an emergency gloveman.
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
May 25: (warm-up) England v Australia, Southampton
May 27: (warm-up) Australia v Sri Lanka, Southampton
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE