Calcutta: Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Tuesday announced the appointment of Hashim Amla as the Test captain succeeding Graeme Smith.
CSA had identified Amla, one-day skipper AB de Villiers and Twenty20 leader Faf du Plessis as the potential captains.
Having initially ruled himself out, Amla had a change of heart in recent weeks and will now lead the side to Sri Lanka for a two-match series next month.
Amla believes it is the right time for him to take over after the loss of senior players Smith and Jacques Kallis in the past six months.
“This is an exciting challenge for me but one that I take on with positivity with our Test team being in an exceptionally good space at the moment with the support of a strong core of senior players,” he said in a statement.
“I have concentrated on taking my batting to the highest possible level and now I feel I am in a position to make a contribution to South African cricket in a leadership role.”
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat last month urged selectors not to fall back on an “automatic choice” for the captaincy, but to consider all options.
“Hashim is universally respected, both in South Africa and around the cricketing world, not only for his quality as a player, which has seen him ranked among the best batsmen in the world in both Test and ODI cricket, but also for his personal qualities,” Lorgat said in a statement.
“He has earned particular respect as a role model for his humility and his upholding of the best traditions and spirit of the game. Becoming captain is a natural progression for his outstanding career and we are indeed fortunate to have a leader of his quality.”
Amla is the fifth player to be appointed captain of the Proteas since South Africa were readmitted to international cricket in 1992.
He follows Kepler Wessels (1992), Hansie Cronje (1994), Shaun Pollock (2000) and Smith (2003), although Mark Boucher, Kallis and Ashwell Prince have also done the job in a stand-in capacity.
Meanwhile, CSA also named Stiaan van Zyl and Dane Piedt as new caps in the Test squad while Beuran Hendricks has been included in the ODI squad for the first time.
Tests: Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott , Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl
ODIs: AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn