Ottis Gibson, the South Africa coach, has brushed off concerns about the form of Hashim Amla, and backed his top order to come good in the home Test series against Pakistan.
Amla is experiencing an extended dry patch, making just 71 runs across seven innings in the domestic Mzansi Super League. His last Test hundred came back in October 2017, against Bangladesh.
But Gibson, speaking to the press on Saturday, 15 December, put it down to niggles and the demands of the T20 game.
“He has been carrying niggles that have not allowed him to do the things that he wanted to do. For him, it is to get back to the nets and work on the things that he needs to work on‚ but he is an experienced player for us. He has had dips in form but he knows what he needs to do.
“T20 wants you to score off every ball and Hash maybe just wants to have the opportunity to leave a few before he starts to expand.”
South Africa’s last Test assignment was in Sri Lanka, where their batsmen struggled against spin. Gibson is confident that the likes of Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar will enjoy the return to familiar conditions.
“There is no concern with regards to them,” Gibson said about his top order. “What happened in Sri Lanka has no relevance here even though Pakistan may choose spinners.
“Aiden scored 1000 runs last year and he is back in familiar home conditions. With regards to Dean, he is an absolute street fighter. He is always close to hitting a double-hundred and that is fantastic.”
The first of three Tests between South Africa and Pakistan begins on Boxing Day on 26 December in Centurion.