Australia vs SA – Dean Elgar wants to continue as South Africa’s Test captain.

Dean Elgar insists he has the “hunger and drive” to continue as South Africa’s Test captain after a second consecutive series defeat and despite his poor form.

Since taking over the captaincy in mid-2021, Elgar has not scored more than 36 in his last 10 innings, with a hundred and an average of 28.40. While he admitted he needed some time off, Elgar continued to play in his final assignment of this World Test Championship – the two-Test series against the West Indies in February-March – and then South Africa. What is the commitment to lead?

“We have two. [Tests] And then possibly have plenty of time for yourself for some street cricket. Then the pressure decreases slightly. But, I enjoy the pressure. If [I was] Making runs now, it would have been easy to say yes [I want to continue] But obviously you have to go into it and ask yourself those questions and I have. I still have the hunger and the drive, no doubt,” said Elgar, after South Africa salvaged the Sydney Test.

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.

Dean Elgar

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.”

He will be joined by his vice-captain Temba Bauma, who does not have an SA20, his opening partner Saril Irvi and middle-order batsman Khaya Zondo while the rest of the Test squad will be part of the new T20. The tournament will give both groups of players a chance to lick their wounds after what Elgar described as a thrashing tour that has left few scars.

“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.”

Still, South Africa couldn’t get away from the fact that he was completely bowled out for the entire series. Interim coach Malibongwe Makita described it as a loss to “a better team, more skilled and more experienced” and called for South Africa to reassess. This includes everything from the formation of the top six to the Makita position, which will be steadily filled over the next few weeks.

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.


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