Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Markram pays tribute to Elgar: ‘He’s been fantastic’

The 36-year-old Elgar has called time on his international career, having played 86 Tests for South Africa.

Fellow opening batter Aiden Markram has paid tribute to the now retired Dean Elgar, who played his 86th and last Test this week.

Elgar scored four and 12 in his final Test at Newlands against India, but in the first Test of the series, in Centurion, he scored a magnificent 185, to be named joint man of the series with India’s Jasprit Bumrah.

The 36-year-old bows out of the Test arena with an average of 37.92 and South Africa’s eighth highest run-scorer with 5,347 runs with 14 centuries and 23 half-centuries. His highest score was 199.

Elgar also had the honour of captaining his country in his final Test, standing in for the injured Temba Bavuma, while he held the full-time captaincy in 2021 and 2022.

‘Leaves big hole’

Markram, who was the only batter in the Newlands Test to score anything of real substance with the bat (106 in his team’s second innings), said he was sad to see Elgar go.

“He’s the kind of guy you want in your dressing room and we’ll probably only realise that (his value) now that he’s no longer going to be around,” said Markram.

“He leaves a big hole (in the Proteas team) and it’s sad to see him go.

“But, he’s been a fantastic servant of his country, he worse his heart on his sleeve and never gave in.”

Elgar was already a grizzled Test veteran by the time Markram made his Test debut in 2017, having himself got into the Test team in 2012 with a pair of ducks in his first match. He went on to be a mainstay at the top of the order over the next 12 years, showing grit and determination and fight, a player who valued his wicket.

“He’s been fantastic,” said Markram about Elgar.

“He took me under his wing from the first day (I was in the squad), eight years ago. He’s a tough character, and he’s not shy about having an honest conversation.”

‘Amazing memories’

Elgar has in recent times spoken out about the lack of Test matches for the Proteas and called on administrators to do more to save Test cricket in the face of T20 cricket’s growth around the world.

While Elgar played 86 Tests and just eight ODIs he never played T20 cricket for South Africa, though he has a domestic T20 average of 33.80 and strike rate of 111.

Speaking after the second Test against India at Newlands, Elgar said he’d enjoyed his time representing South Africa on the cricket pitches around the world.

“Bit of a journey and amazing memories with the baggy green, so special,” said the left-hander.

Elgar is expected to continue playing for the Titans, while Essex in England are allegedly also wanting to sign the opener, to fill the void left by the retirement of Alastair Cook.

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Aiden Markram Dean Elgar proteas cricket team

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