x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Hashim Amla absence out of South Africa’s control, says cricket coach

South Africa's bowling coach Allan Donald also heads home ahead of the second Test in Dubai, reports Paul Radley.

Hashim Amla has returned to South Africa after his wife delivered their second child. Karim Sahib / AFP
Hashim Amla has returned to South Africa after his wife delivered their second child. Karim Sahib / AFP

DUBAI // South Africa would happily swap frequent-flyer points for runs and wickets against Pakistan this week, having seen more personnel head for the departure lounge on Sunday.

Allan Donald, the team’s bowling coach, has followed Hashim Amla in returning home, having been granted an “extended leave of absence” for family reasons.

Mohammed Moosajee, the Proteas team manager, said ahead of Sunday’s training session at the ICC Academy in Dubai Sports City that he is unsure when Donald will return.

Vincent Barnes, South Africa’s high-performance manager and a national selector, is scheduled to arrive in Dubai on Monday morning to cover Donald’s duties with the Proteas bowlers.

Amla might add to his own tally of air miles before the start of the second Test match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

The world’s No 1 batsman travelled home after last week’s opening match in Abu Dhabi to be present for the birth of his second child.

As of Sunday’s team workout, his wife had not yet given birth, but the batsman still has not been ruled out of Wednesday’s match.

“It is out of our control,” Russell Domingo, South Africa’s coach, said of the Amla situation.

“Family is the most important thing.

“Hashim needs to be with his wife, but it would be great to have him here, not just as a player but as a personality in the side.

“He offers a lot of calmness, so he will be sorely missed. It is not confirmed he will not be coming back, but I have confidence the guys who will replace him will make use of that opportunity.

“Hashim is a difficult guy to replace, but South African cricket has a lot of depth, so hopefully the guy who comes in will do well.”

pradley@thenational.ae