Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
2 Jan 2022
5:01 pm

Tough-talking Elgar tells batters to put on their ‘big-boy pants’

Ken Borland

The SA skipper is also in favour of spinner Keshav Maharaj remaining in the playing XI for the second Test.

Captain Dean Elgar of the Proteas says South Africa's batsmen need to show greater maturity at the crease in the second Test against India, starting on Monday. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Proteas captain Dean Elgar has been urging his players, comprehensively beaten in the first Test last week and then shocked by Quinton de Kock’s retirement, to lift themselves up and toughen up mentally for the second Test against India which starts at the Wanderers on Monday.

While one new face is definite, Kyle Verreynne replacing De Kock behind the stumps, Elgar said other changes were also being discussed.

But any alterations are likely to be minor as the captain made it clear on Sunday that he still backs his players and they have to find it within themselves to simply be better in the crucial second Test.

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“There’s no need to panic, we have a lot of capable players, even if some of them are inexperienced, and they need to take responsibility,” Elgar said. “It’s extremely important to back them, that’s how you build and grow a team.

“They’re not suddenly bad players, they just need to be mentally more switched on. They need to understand Test cricket is bloody tough. It’s a harsh environment and you need to ask yourself tough questions and then respond.

“The batsmen are up against some of the best bowlers in the world now and they need to put on their big-boy pants. I can talk and talk, but we need to see a reaction now, otherwise the talk is cheap.

“We’ve had quite a few setbacks in recent times, these are just another couple that we need to get over and be clever around. We have to get over it and move on,” Elgar said.

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It seems certain that South Africa are not going to sacrifice spinner Keshav Maharaj in order to play an extra batsman or pace bowler either.

“I think the Wanderers pitch will play a lot better than it has recently, it’s going to be more batsmen-friendly, a better cricket wicket,” said Elgar, “but the batsmen have to put their hands up and take responsibility.

“Sometimes you choose an attack based on horses-for-courses, but Kesh is very adaptable, a very smart cricketer whose record speaks for itself. I always favour having a frontline spinner.

“Being a left-arm spinner to 10 right-handers in the Indian batting line-up, that’s something to utilise. Tactically we need to be much better and Kesh has an extremely big role to play in this series.

“With the conditions as they are now, I would think Kesh is going to play. He stabilises our bowling, I know I can throw the ball to him and he will keep down the run-rate. He gives us better options.”