In televised interviews after the match, Elgar appeared a little more upbeat and said he was confident he would be “back” among the runs after a disappointing 2022. Later, at the press conference, Elgar admitted that he was unhappy with the methods. He has been dismissed in this series: Leg choke three times in six visits to the crease.
“I can accept once, maybe twice, but the third time is something that worries me a lot,” he said. “And it’s something different for me. Usually you have a way out and the bowlers target it. It’s obviously a new thing and 10 years into my Test career, it’s not for me. Country area. It’s probably something to consider and you can either. Say it’s lucky or not. I’m going to keep an open mind around it and take a look. It’s a little It’s a bit disappointing that I never got into the series and when I got going I managed to get a run out. I got myself out, which is not a big number even in Test cricket. All round, it was. Very disappointing. I’ve been batting really well, my build-up has been good. Many times I’ve batted badly and I’ve actually got performances, which is the irony of the game.”
“Maybe I’m feeling a little low. [hurt and embarrassed] now. Those two words would have been a lot stronger after the second game but it sits a lot better with me after this game showed a lot of fight and some really positive signs.
But he won’t share his technique just yet. With no SA20 contract to his name, Elgar plans to put his feet up by January and is targeting the second half of the domestic four-day series starting February 12 for a comeback. He said that I am taking as much leave as I want. “There have been some talks with me and the batting coaches about possibly doing extra work but for now, I just want to get on the plane, and go home, chill a bit, have a braai and maybe a bush. I want to go and play. Some golf. It’s the little things that South Africans miss when you go on tour. I’m just going to go home and get out a bit.”
“We are hurt and embarrassed,” he said. “Those things are working hand-in-hand right now.”
However, South Africa’s batting effort on the final day of the series, where they scored 255 in their first innings – their highest in nine innings – and were 106 for 2 when stumps were called, has given Elgar some hope that things are not so. As bad as they sound.
“Maybe I’m feeling a little low. [hurt and embarrassed] Now,” he said. “Those two words would have been too strong after the second game but after showing a lot of fight and some really positive signs in this game, it sits a lot better with me. It probably took me a week to get over the pain and embarrassment and maybe that’s why it’s a little easier to talk about now.”
There is a strong sense that South Africa may be forced to do a complete clean-out and reorganize the Red Ball structure. At home, there is a sense that an overhaul is in the air, and Elgar feels it is coming, especially on the back of this tour. While he wants to be a part of South Africa’s Test future, for now, he just wants to process what has happened.
“I think you just have to be honest. Emotions are part of our DNA. We’re human too and we’re allowed to show that,” he said. “We are a very proud nation and we play to win. That kind of thing runs in your veins when things don’t go your way.”
Firdous Munda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent.