In typically dauntless fashion, Dean Elgar says he is not only up for the challenge of being South Africa’s new Test captain but that leadership also comes “extremely easily” to him.
The resolute 32-year-old opening batsman has been mentioned as a strong candidate for the Test captaincy now that Faf du Plessis has retired and Quinton de Kock has been told he will only be the white-ball captain.
Elgar is assured of his place in the team and has captained the Test side before, losing by 211 runs to England at Lord’s in 2017 and beating Pakistan by 107 runs at the Wanderers in 2019.
And the left-hander said on Monday that he was willing to step up and take the reins if asked.
“It’s tough being a Test captain but I think leadership has generally come extremely easily to me,” Elgar said.
“I’ve done the job a lot, from school days through to franchise level. If it were offered to me I would definitely think long and hard about it and it would mean a lot to me.
“But it’s not like a job interview where you hand in your CV. You don’t put your hand up for it, it’s something that’s decided by someone else – who they think is the best person for the job – and I will respect their decision.
“In the last eight years of playing international cricket I’ve had quite vast learnings from the personnel in the changeroom on the way you conduct yourself when it comes to preparation, the media and off the field.
“I’m extremely grateful for that. As a person I’ve never stopped growing and hopefully what I’ve learnt I can pass on to the younger guys.”
Renowned as being one of the toughest competitors around, Elgar has visions of restoring South Africa to their past status as one of the world’s best teams.
“We’re coming off a tough summer, playing India away and England at home. I would have liked to have seen the team win more games, and be more consistent in my own performances so that I leave the team in good stead,” he said.
“We threw some punches in the first Test against India at Vizag but then the wind went out of our sails and India were ruthless. They keep their foot on your throat whenever they smell blood.
“We started well against England but we struggled to do the basics for longer periods, which England did, utilising their experience. We needed more consistency, and that’s an area for us to work on.
“If we do the basics for longer, especially in Test cricket, then the results might turn around.
“We need some hard chats, and there’s definitely room for that, but also to trust in ourselves, have confidence in our ability and always think positively.”