Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa batsman Dean Elgar is ready to take on the West Indies in the upcoming Test series after enduring a tough start to the domestic season.
Ever since he moved from the Chevrolet Knights to Unlimited Titans, Elgar has not been presented with many opportunities to score runs. This is because the Titans finished last in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge and have also won just two out of their five one-day matches.
“This is my ninth season and it’s the toughest I have had domestically – not personally but just from the external factors that influence a franchise,” Elgar said. “When you come to a franchise and you’ve got a bit of a name and been around and played Test cricket, you think you should just fit in and make every side. But that’s one of the reasons I’ve made the change – I’m getting out of my comfort zone. In Bloemfontein I would have played every game and maybe have captained the Knights. But it wasn’t about that. It was about making me a better player, challenging myself to make every team for the Titans.”
After a poor start to the season, Elgar revealed that he took three weeks off to get himself physically and mentally prepared for the series against the West Indies.
“I’ve had about three weeks off and I didn’t touch my bat for that period,” he said. “I was getting myself over what has happened in the T20 campaign and what can happen in the Test scenario. My mind is fresh because I’ve done everything but cricket. I’m ready to go.”
With the first Test set to be held in Centurion, Elgar noted that the South African pace bowlers will thrive in the conditions. However, he also pointed out that batsmen can enjoy a lot of success too, but only if they apply themselves and show a lot of patience.
“SuperSport Park provides a wicket that if you bowl well, you will get rewarded and if you bat well and apply yourself, you will score runs. That’s what our guys do the best in the world,” he said. “The wicket compliments our bowlers because there is extra bounce and a little bit of extra pace behind the ball but the batters seem to enjoy batting here. If you apply yourself and get your mind around batting for a long time, you can do well here.”
Elgar also noted that since South Africa have lost Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis to retirement, it is time for the current group of players to craft their own legacy.
“That era has come to an end now,” Elgar said. “The guys who are in the team appreciate what has happened and are mature and professional enough to understand that it’s the time for another opening pair to start things out.”
Elgar is also confident that opening batsman Alviro Petersen will silence his critics by scoring a century at some point during the three-Test series.
“There’s a big one around the corner for him. I can just sense he is hungry to perform. When there is a bit of crunch on him, it brings out the best in him,” Elgar said. “I back Alviro for a big hundred and to keep the people quiet. He has done that throughout his career. He has been a guy who is under the pump most of the time and he silences guys with the bat.”