That’s because the left-hander is comfortable that he has his plans in place and that was shown clearly last weekend when he opened the competition with a superb 72 off 48 balls against the Cape Cobras in the triple-header at the Wanderers. Elgar struck just two fours but cleared the boundary five times to prove what a versatile batsman he is, coach Rob Walter describing it as “a quality innings that might have surprised a few people”.
The incumbent Test opener told The Citizen yesterday though that whatever work he has done on his batting has been more mental and strategic than anything else.
“Playing the Knights is just another game for me, the Titans are my team now although I’m still friends with guys from the Knights. I don’t care about their plans against me because I’ve worked on my options and what I have in the bag should be sufficient. SuperSport Park is also usually a great batting ground, so I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m now a lot more specific with my batting in a game, I know better what is required in the different situations and I have proper game plans against the various types of bowlers. People don’t always expect me to bat like I did, because they see me as a one-format player which ticks me off,” Elgar said.
Elgar, who was the Titans’ best bowler as well with three for 20 in four overs, and fellow opener Henry Davids gave the Titans the perfect start in pursuit of a daunting 208 against the Cobras, adding 151 off just 96 balls, but they still ended up losing by 14 runs. Beating the Knights is all that matters for Elgar whatever his personal contribution.
“It’s going to be a very tough task against them, obviously, but we’ve put in a lot of hard work and talked about a few areas of our game. Those words now have to be put into practice and we have to start winning because the Titans are a brand that has always led South African cricket.
“It was nice to do well personally against the Cobras, but it didn’t mean anything because we lost, especially from the position we were in. I’d rather not perform and the team still wins,” Elgar said.
While the Titans batsmen are largely doing their bit, the bowling has been messy and they may turn to the unorthodox spin of Tabraiz Shamsi in tonight’s game.
There is a vacancy in the attack with Rowan Richards unavailable as he attends a family funeral and former SA U19 star Corbin Bosch has been added to the squad. It’s only prim and proper that he gets a look-in given the excellence of his limited-overs bowling skills.
“The bowling has been frustrating. We were poor against the Cobras despite our preparation being so specific and we had clear plans. A lot depends on the balance of the team and the surface, but there’s definitely space for the sort of bowler who can turn the ball both ways, so Shamsi is certainly in our plans,” Walter said.
The inclusion of the 24-year-old would give the Titans a powerful spin attack of Roelof van der Merwe, Elgar, Shamsi, Henry Davids and Graeme van Buuren, as well as three seamers in Ethy Mbhalati, JP de Villiers and Darren Sammy.
Just as Elgar would prefer not to be pigeon-holed as a one-dimensional batsman, he would also prefer to be considered as a package cricketer with his under-rated left-arm spin. His economy rate in 45 T20 matches is just 6.53.
“I actually think that Dean is a highly under-rated bowler, the stats show that he is a serious short-form spinner. That was a game-changing four overs from him against the Cobras and Roelof is also a master of his art, seriously skilful,” Walter said.