Dean Elgar was appointed captain of South Africa’s Test team in early March 2021 and given a mandate for his reign. Elgar is expected to lead the Proteas for the duration of their next World Test Championship campaign.
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South Africa is well off the pace set by the top four nations in the soon to be concluded league phase of the inaugural championship and it is clear that Director of Cricket Graeme Smith wants to see the team improve, if not win the next championship.
While the Proteas have traditionally struggled in ICC Tournaments, the WTC operates within the realm of bilateral cricket, which is a traditional strength of South African cricket.
There are some things that Elgar cannot do as captain, chief among them being batting for the rest of the top-order, he will however play a role in determining who staffs those top six slots and exactly where they fit into the Proteas game.
Elgar has been close to the succession of Test skippers who have tried to address South Africa’s slide in the ultimate format, but unlike most of them he is himself entirely focused on the red-ball game.
Being awarded the captaincy of the Test team has likely put his hopes of breaking into the limited-overs side to bed, meaning the skipper will be wholly devoted to the most all-consuming of formats.
The Proteas ‘Bulldog’ could be just the man to tackle the stubborn problems standing in the way of Test match success for South Africa.
His application at the crease will serve as an inspiration to the batsmen around him and his determined streak should encourage the Proteas to improve their killer instinct.
Despite their recent form it really wouldn’t take just an incremental improvement in key areas to ensure that South Africa competes with the likes of India, England, New Zealand and Australia, who currently dominate the five-day format.
Elgar will also work closely with a man considered to be just about nailed on to captain the Proteas down the road, in his opening partner Aiden Markram.
The quicker he can learn how to wrangle the Proteas impressive pace battery, the sooner the team will be able to compete on the global stage, especially when it comes to home Tests.
Written by James Richardson