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Ken Borland

While others enjoy broccoli soup, Elgar dispenses tough love … and says Stokes is the same 0

Posted on June 13, 2022 by Ken

Rain washed out the second day’s play of last year’s Boxing Day Test against India at Centurion and, while the tourists enjoyed a lunchtime feast including broccoli soup, Chicken Chettinad and lamb chops, Proteas captain Dean Elgar was giving his team some of his famous tough love after a poor first day.

Having allowed India to rattle up 273-3 on the first day on a pitch that assisted the pacemen, Elgar told his team to “toughen up mentally, take responsibility and wear your big-boy pants”.

South Africa did fight back, but that first day had ultimately done too much damage. Their determination did, however, make them the most tenacious of opponents in the rest of the series and they pulled off a thoroughly unexpected series triumph.

It’s the sort of inspirational captaincy Elgar has now become famous for and he believes England’s newly-appointed skipper Ben Stokes will lead in similar vein when they host the Proteas in a Test series in August.

“I wouldn’t call it ‘stubborn’ captaincy but I’d say we are both f****** tough cricketers,” Elgar told The Citizen on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be a battle of feisty characters and Stokes is a world-class cricketer, and we know what he’s capable of because he’s done pretty well against us, albeit just as player.

“But as captain you need to get the best out of your players and it’s going to be interesting to see how he goes with the added responsibility.

“We play with our hearts on our sleeves because we always want to push for the win, but Test cricket comes down to who controls their emotions best. If you let them get the better of you, then the results generally don’t go your way,” Elgar said.

Elgar and Stokes are both left-handed batsmen, but their contrasting styles are very much the yin and yang of Test cricket.

Stokes is immensely strong and provides much attacking thrust to England’s middle-order, while Elgar, as an opening batsman, does not play with the same freedom but the time he spends at the crease can be equally draining for the opposition.

Both Stokes and Elgar have played 12 Tests since the start of 2021, with England’s new captain scoring just 633 runs at an average of 26.37.

Elgar, on the other hand, has been leading from the front since his appointment, with 881 runs at an average of 41.95.

“I don’t dwell too much on individual battles, my focus is on us as a team,” Elgar said. “And I haven’t had a lot of personal interaction with Ben, even though we have played against each other numerous times since an SA A series against the England Lions in 2015.”

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