Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
15 Jan 2022
7:01 am

Elgar reflects on Proteas win: ‘We played big moments brilliantly’

Ken Borland

South Africa came back from losing the first Test to win at the Wanderers and Newlands to take the series 2-1.

Proteas captain Dean Elgar holds the trophy after South Africa won the third Test, and the series, against India in Cape Town on Friday. Picture: Rodger Bosch / AFP

Dean Elgar had not had much time to think about his greatest triumph as Proteas captain when he was asked what were the positives, in terms of leadership, that he had taken out of the remarkable series win over India, but he did correctly point out that all 11 players had to be on the same page for them to stage such a dramatic and composed comeback.

Elgar had captained South Africa to a defeat against England at Lord’s in 2017 and victory over Pakistan at the Wanderers in 2019 before being appointed full-time Test captain ahead of the two-match series in the West Indies last June. He has now led the Proteas to five wins and two defeats in his total of seven matches as skipper, following the 2-1 series win against India, sealed at Newlands on Friday.

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“I still need to reflect on all the good things that happened,” Elgar said. “But my skin is pretty thick when it comes to on-field matters and this team never lied down, they always fought.

“They stayed in the game-plan, never veered off it and that’s a good strength to have. You need to have all 11 guys on the same page and I think I’ve gained some people skills that I lacked before.

“I’m a lot more experienced now, but it’s still something I will work on so that I can use it to the best of my ability as captain. It’s tough sometimes not being able to control anything out there.

“But I’ve had to learn quickly not to show my emotions on camera. I think I’m more calm now and I don’t panic too soon,” Elgar said.

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The gutsy left-handed opener said building momentum after the poor display in the first Test at Centurion had been a tough task.

“Momentum is important, you really need it in a tough series and it’s difficult to gain against quality opposition,” Elgar said. “So you need to capitalise when the sniff is there.

“And you also have to make sure you don’t let it slip when you’ve got the momentum. But I thought we played the big moments brilliantly, especially considering we did not have a lot of confidence.

“But we showed India are also humans and they are beatable. There were a few turning points and building up to the second Test we had a tough chat for maybe an hour.

“It helped to get the appreciation for the badge back and chasing 240 at the Wanderers was a massive confidence boost for us,” Elgar said.