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Ken Borland

Proteas skippers like a choir singing from the same hymn sheet, eases captaincy burden

Posted on May 16, 2022 by Ken

A successful choir obviously needs everyone singing together in complementary fashion and the Proteas’ success over the last summer has certainly been a team effort, but coach Mark Boucher has spoken of the importance of having the two captains, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma, singing from the same hymn sheet.

Since the unfortunate experiment with Quinton de Kock as captain, Elgar and Bavuma have taken over the red and white-ball sides respectively for the last 13 months and the split captaincy has worked well, although the consistency of the limited-overs side has perhaps left something to be desired.

“Dean and Temba came in as leaders in a tough time,” Boucher said. “They are completely different characters, but they have rubbed off on each other. They feed off each other and they speak to each other a lot.

“They have also both been in really good form with the bat and have been leading from the front.

“What’s been particularly good is that they are on the same page when it comes to where they want to take South African cricket,” Boucher said.

Elgar said the success of the Test team has helped to ease the burden of captaincy, which is never easy when there is so much going on off the field to deal with.

“Everything good comes with a challenge and I like challenges,” Elgar said. “That’s why I’m still playing Test cricket at nearly 35 years old and I feel my best cricket is still ahead of me.

“If I was younger, maybe I wouldn’t enjoy the captaincy as much. It has been extremely testing off the field, but I have an amazing core of players around me, they respect and understand me as a person.

“I think we’re in a very special place as a team and that leads to me being a lot happier with what I’m doing. Getting results and playing good, strong cricket, definitely eases the burden of captaincy,” Elgar said.

Elgar and Boucher are both hard-nosed leaders who would perhaps not be out of place training recruits in the marine corps. And they have both suggested the players who went to the IPL instead of playing in the Bangladesh series will not automatically get their Test places back.

“I don’t think it’s fair to just say they come back,” Elgar said. “The guys playing now have made a massive statement. We have a decent batting pool now.

“Someone like Ryan Rickelton has taken to Test cricket pretty well, he’s had a taste and now understands it. Even if the intensity was not quite what it will be playing England.

“But it’s out of my hands whether the IPL guys get selected again,” Elgar said.

“The IPL guys did vacate their spots and there is now good competition for those spots. It’s a nice position to be in,” Boucher said.

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