South Africa's Hashim Amla celebrates scoring a century at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. Picture: REUTERS/JAMES OATWAY
South Africa's Hashim Amla celebrates scoring a century at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. Picture: REUTERS/JAMES OATWAY

SA coach Ottis Gibson says long-time top-order batting mainstay Hashim Amla is still part of his plans for the ICC World Cup in England in May.

The 35-year-old‚ who has mainly opened the ODI batting with Quinton de Kock over the years‚ has not played a competitive match for almost a month since he was given time off to take care of his ill father.

He has also been removed from the Cape Cobras squad for their Momentum One Day Cup semifinal clash against the Titans at SuperSport Park on Wednesday with coach Ashwell Prince saying they have given him time and space.

“He is still very much part of the plan for the World Cup‚” said Gibson.

“Obviously he is nursing his sick father and until there are changes with regards to his family situation we won’t know.

“When it comes to family‚ it takes preference over everything else,” he said.

“So we have to give him the time he needs to be with his family and we will try and make a decision after that.”

Compounding matters for the selectors is that Amla has been in poor form, having managed only 51 runs in four innings during the recent 2-0 Test series loss to Sri Lanka.

He missed the subsequent 5-0 ODI and 3-0 T20 whitewashes against the same opponents.

If Amla doesn’t make it to the tournament‚ the selectors are likely to turn to Reeza Hendricks, who has opened the batting with De Kock in four of the five ODIs against Sri Lanka, even though he disappointed with a poor return of 42 runs in that format.

Hendricks improved his performances during the T20 series where he finished as the top run scorer with 139 and was also named Man of the Series.

“We had two substantial partnerships in the last T20 on Sunday and Reeza was in the forefront of that. He has played well this season and deserves the Man of the Series award,” said Gibson.

Also to be considered is Test opener Aiden Markram, who scored 96 runs in the two matches he played during the ODI series but disappointed during the T20s in which he only scored 18 runs in his two innings.