Dean Elgar has described the opportunity to lead the Standard Bank Proteas in the first Test match against England starting at Lord’s on Thursday as the proudest moment of his career. While the occasion of captaining at one of the most celebrated cricket grounds in the world can be overwhelming, Elgar says he will be treating the match like any other match as they look for a positive start in the four-match series.
“It’s the proudest day so far in my career,” he said at Lord’s on Wednesday. “Everything about Lord’s seems to make you want to do better. You hear all the stories about the game when you are growing up and you see on the TV, those are your first-hand experiences, it always looks so nice. Once you reach the big arena all those memories come flooding back and you have the first-hand opportunity to play here and try to do well here. It is an enhanced feeling when you get here, an emotion that gets you to try and do well.
“With the captaincy, you have to look at it like any other game of cricket,” he continued. “You can’t let the occasion get the better of you. You have to think about the team first and the venue later. You can sit on the balcony after the day’s play and admire what has happened or play it back in your head. From a captaincy point, you can’t let the venue overwhelm you, it’s great to give it the acknowledgement and respect it deserves but you still have a job to do, the 11 guys have a job to do.”
Elgar is often described as a tough and resilient cricketer on the field, and these are some of the attributes he hopes will shine through in his captaincy.
“If you take it off the field, I’m a reserved and quiet guy,” he explained. “If I get to know individuals I’m a bit of a clown. Once I cross the line, you can see it in my batting, I’m a little bit tougher and nuggety. In that sense the captaincy vibe will be in those lines, at little bit more aggressive and being more of a fighter out there. Taking the play to the opposition.”
He heads into the series on the back of a prolific run-scoring stint for Somerset County Cricket Club, where he finished as the leading batsman for the club in the four-day County Championship and the Royal London One-day cup. He scored 517 runs at an average of 47 in the four-day matches, an experience he believes has given him the best preparation heading into the series.
“I loved it,” he said of his time. “It was a good three months for me at Somerset. I came here to try and give myself the best opportunity to do well in this Test series and to gain experience in foreign conditions. I wanted to try and play as much cricket as possible. It was a good outing for me, I played a lot of cricket in that period in various formats, and I’d like to think that I’ve learnt a lot in three months from a playing point of view.”
The match is scheduled to start at 11h00 local time.
Standard Bank Proteas Test squad:
Faf du Plessis (Multiply Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (WSB Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (WSB Cape Cobras), Theunis de Bruyn (VKB Knights), Quinton de Kock (Multiply Titans), JP Duminy (WSB Cape Cobras), Dean Elgar (Multiply Titans), Heino Kuhn (Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Multiply Titans), Morne Morkel (Multiply Titans), Chris Morris (Multiply Titans), Duanne Olivier (VKB Knights), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Vernon Philander (WSB Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (bizhub Highveld Lions).
1st Test – 6 -10 July – Lord’s, London
2nd Test – 14 – 18 July – Trent Bridge, Nottingham
3rd Test – 27 – 31 July – The Oval, London
4th Test – 4-8 August – Old Trafford, Manchester