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Ken Borland


Elgar like an older brother showing his younger siblings the ropes

Posted on September 28, 2022 by Ken

Like an older brother showing his younger siblings the ropes, Proteas captain Dean Elgar says he knows what it feels like to be the No.1 Test side in the world and he wants the rest of his team to experience the same joy.

South Africa are currently leading the ICC World Test Championship with five wins from seven matches, but in terms of the Test rankings they are third behind Australia and India. England are 10 points behind them in fourth and are languishing in seventh in the Championship, out of the running for the final.

But regardless of that, beating England in a Test series in England is one of the toughest things to do and Elgar, a veteran of 76 Tests,  knows if they are to be acknowledged as the best side in the longest format then they need to stand up and be counted when the first Test starts at Lord’s on Wednesday.

“I didn’t take the job as captain thinking about just being a mid-table team,” Elgar said on Tuesday. “It was always my goal for us to play our best cricket.

“I’ve been part of a No.1-ranked side twice and I know how great a feeling it is and how much work it takes and what a journey it is.

“I want the younger guys to experience that and I want to experience it again as well before my next chapter. It’s a massive goal of mine, the biggest, and I wouldn’t be doing this job if I didn’t think we were capable of being number one.

“I think we’ve created a lot more confidence over the last 15 months and it has rubbed off on my own game as well. I’m not dissing the opposition, but purely from the South African point of view, we tick all the boxes,” Elgar said.

While rain meant Kagiso Rabada would have to bowl in the indoor nets at Lord’s if he needed to top-up after his ankle injury, there will be at least four changes in the starting XI compared to the team that thrashed Bangladesh in Gqeberha in South Africa’s previous Test, in April.

The injured duo of Temba Bavuma and Duanne Olivier are both back in South Africa, while Wiaan Mulder and Lizaad Williams are not in the touring squad.

Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje and Marco Jansen are all back in the squad, but whether there is enough in the conditions to warrant playing Simon Harmer as a second spinner will determine whether the pace quartet return like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Who comes in for Bavuma is the big question.

“We’ve lost Temba’s experience factor in the middle-order and I would be more inclined to go for experience,” Elgar said, suggesting Rassie van der Dussen or Aiden Markram are the frontrunners to bat No.4.

Play starts at 12pm SA time.

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