Proteas can reclaim some pride – Elgar

BY MARC JACOBSON - JANUARY 21, 2016

The fourth Test against England at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday may be a dead-rubber decider, but opener, Dean Elgar, says that the Proteas have some pride to instil into both the team and the country.

This is the last Test match of the summer and it leads way for players to regain some confidence ahead of the ODI and T20 series. It also presents the ideal platform for the players to mentally, reach the brand of cricket that has been associated with the Proteas for many years. The consequences of mental derailment within the team as a whole had resulted in the Proteas slipping to third in the ICC Test ranking from first place.

With this being the last Test match of the summer, it presents the ideal platform for the players to regain some confidence and to play the brand of cricket that has been associated with the Proteas Test team for many years.

“The importance of the game is still up there,” Elgar told the media at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.

“We have put in a lot of emphasis on ending the series well. Things haven’t worked out the way that we wanted them to in the last three games but there is still a lot to play for in this game. There is a lot of pride that has been left out on the field and a lot of pride can be claimed back if we compete well in this Test. The result will depend on the way we conduct ourselves on the field, that is quite important for us.

“It’s definitely not a dead-rubber in my eyes, I still want to go out and compete, try my best and play as hard as I can for my country. There are a lot of other guys in our squad that share the same feelings as me.”

Elgar touched on the challenges of opening the batting in South Africa, and singled out mental strength as the key towards success. He seems set to partner with Stephen Cook at the top of the order, a familiar counterpart having opened together for South Africa ‘A’ a few years ago.

“Personally I think it’s the toughest part of this game,” he explained. “You have to be mentally in-tune, you don’t necessarily have an hour to relax after fielding, you have 10 minutes. Mentally you have to be comfortable with yourself and your role. It’s a position that you need to have for a long period of time to get accustomed to it.”  

After a trying series against India where he averaged 19.57 (137 runs), Elgar has been the most consistent of the Proteas batsmen with an average of 65.75 (263 runs) and a century to his name this series.  

“I’ve been reasonably happy with the way things have gone,” he said.

“In the same breath I have been frustrated as well. I have three 40s which, if people know me, really grinds me. I’m one of those players who would rather go out for a low score than go out at 40 or 50 when the hard work has been done and all you have to do is apply yourself a little bit more. After what happened in India I will take the form that I have had so far this series. There are still two more innings left in this series and I want to try and make them count personally.”

If South Africa loses the fourth Test against England, they will slip to fourth on the ICC Rankings, but a win will not improve their third position. 

--- additional reporting from News24wire

Source: http://www.sport24.co.za/Cricket/SunfoilSeries/van-zyl-sidelined-with-injury-20160121