Dean Elgar aims to finish strong with a 2-0 win as SA takes on Ind in the 2nd Test – This is my World Cup

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Dean Elgar compared the feeling of a Test series win to winning a World Cup, acknowledging that he has never participated in the latter. “I only play the game to win. I don’t care about stats. I care about wins. I care about series wins. That’s the greatest memories you can ever share with your team, everyone that has got an influential role in the background. Test series wins – you don’t top that. Maybe a World Cup win is up there. I have never had that opportunity but this is my World Cup. This is my arena where I want to win.” Elgar said.
Elgar’s career will end this week with 86 Test caps and with him as one of only eight South Africans to have scored more than 5000 runs. He is 167 runs away from catching Mark Boucher, and will equal Herbie Taylor with 18 Tests as captain, the fifth-most by a South African. Being asked to lead the side, 11 months after being stood down from the captaincy, is among Elgar’s proudest achievements.

“I don’t think you get a bigger accolade or bigger credit than to be asked to captain. I did it in the past for a year-and-a-half or whatever it was and it has been the best learning experience for me as an individual – not just from a cricketing point of view but off-field stuff,” he said. “I give my 100% whether I am playing or captaining and I am going to have that mentality going into this game. For me, it’s about showing the right ways for the younger players and hopefully that catches on.”

Playing against India, the team Elgar led South Africa to a 2-1 win against in the 2021-22 summer, holds extra meaning for him. “There’s no bigger honour than to captain your country irrespective of who you are playing against but being against India adds more flavour. India is the powerhouse nation in the world and we are in a situation where I can influence and try to get a 2-nil win.”

“It’s a massive Test for us, being our highlighted Test of the year. The New Year’s Test at Newlands, they don’t get much bigger and better, against really tough opposition.”

Dean Elgar

Though South Africa’s innings win at SuperSport Park last week means that they cannot lose the series, Elgar does not want them to settle for that. Instead, he wants them to adopt a mindset that this is a series they should not share, because it will be played at home and with the final match at many of the players’ favourite venue: Newlands.

“We are in a fortunate position knowing that we can’t lose the series but drawing is maybe as big as a loss for us,” he said. “It’s a massive Test for us, being our highlighted Test of the year. The New Year’s Test at Newlands, they don’t get much bigger and better, against really tough opposition. Playing the New Year’s Test is big for guys and they are going to have a lot of firsts so we want them to just live in that moment but be mindful of the opportunity of winning 2-nil. Drawing the series is not something we are thinking about at all.”

This is South Africa’s first series of the 2023-2025 WTC, during which they will only play two-Test series and will not face England or Australia at all. The dearth of fixtures was believed to be part of the reason Elgar chose to retire, despite his 185 in the Boxing Day Test suggesting he still has much to offer, and though he did not confirm that, he also made it clear he will not be changing his mind. “One thing people need to understand is that I made my decision long ago,” he said. “A couple of months ago, I chose this to be my last series, irrespective of what is happening behind the scenes. I made my bed and I am sleeping in it quite nicely.”

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