Thursday 7 August 2014 

We Are Not Taking Zimbabwe Lightly - Amla

Hashim Amla plays a shot in Sri Lanka
Hashim Amla: 'On any given day, somebody can perform so we are not going to be taking it any more lightly than any other opposition.'
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

South Africa may be the side at the top of the Test rankings and one that has never lost a Test to Zimbabwe, but that isn't stopping Hashim Amla from sounding a note of caution ahead of their one-off Test in Harare.

Having led his side to a 1-0 series win in Sri Lanka which resulted in the Proteas reclaiming their spot at the top of the Test rankings, his team begin their next challenge on Saturday (9th August).

But Amla says that he and his team will be approaching the match with the same sort of intensity that they needed to beat Sri Lanka in Galle and then hold on to draw in Colombo.

"We are happy to be in Zimbabwe, it's a lovely place to be, and we want to win the game," he said at his pre-match press conference.

South Africa v Zimbabwe

Tests Played: 6

South Africa wins: 6

In South Africa: 3

In Zimbabwe: 3

Drawn Tests: 1

In Zimbabwe: 1

"We never look further than that, we are going to look to play the game as intensely as we play any Test match because Test cricket is something you don't take for granted, whether you are ranked at the top or at the bottom

"On any given day, somebody can perform so we are not going to be taking it any more lightly than any other opposition.

"My firm belief is that you don't expect anything and you don't take anything for granted.

"We've come here to play as intensely as we did in Sri Lanka and obviously on the day, whatever the wicket provides for us, we'll try to play the game accordingly, with great enjoyment and certainly within the spirit of the game."

Asked whether he feels any particular pressure as captain of the world's leading side, Amla said he felt that in Test cricket, whether you are captain or not, you are always under pressure.

"Because we are ranked above Zimbabwe, the expectation is for us to do better so there is that kind of, I won't say pressure, because I believe in Test cricket there is pressure all round whether you are playing Australia or you are playing Zimbabwe.

"The pressure to win is always there, especially being the top ranked team."

Amla replaced Graeme Smith as South Africa's Test captain earlier this year and he, along with the coaching staff and selectors, now have to build a new team without Smith and Jacques Kallis, who retired from Tests late last year.

Or as he prefers to call it, finding the 'winning formula'.

"My goal when taking over as captain was not to become the number one side in the world but for us to find a team that would be successful.

"We had lost two players in Graeme (Smith) and Jacques (Kallis) so to find the winning formula with a new set of guys was my first goal."

© Cricket World 2014

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Fixtures & Results

9th-13th August: Only Test, Harare
South Africa 397 (du Plessis 98) & 44-1 beat
Zimbabwe 256 & 181 (Piedt 4-62) by nine wickets
17th August: 1st ODI, Bulawayo
South Africa 309-3 (Amla 122no) beat
Zimbabwe 216 (H Masakadza 61) by 93 runs
19th August: 2nd ODI, Bulawayo
South Africa 257 (du Plessis 55) beat
Zimbabwe 196 (Williams 55) by 61 runs
21st August: 3rd ODI, Bulawayo
South Africa 171-3 (de Kock 84) beat
Zimbabwe 165 (Chigumbura 90) by seven wickets