Johannesburg - Dean Elgar admitted he was “ticked off” after being left out of the One-Day International team, and international attacks bore the brunt of his anger as he smashed a career-best first-class score of 268 to make his statement of intent regarding his desire to remain in the Protea test team.
According to the supersport.com website, Now his dream of retaining his Test spot might be realized as the prodigious Hashim Amla might miss the second test against Pakistan in Dubai as he wants to support his wife during the birth of their child.
Elgar scored 370 runs in the SA A test series against Australia A, and also smashed two recent tons against the Chevrolet Warriors in pre-season warm-up games.
Elgar was dismissed for a duck in his test debut against Australia and initially seemed to struggle to make the step up from talented SA A-batsman to test performer. An undefeated 103 against New Zealand in the second test in Port Elizabeth in January 2013 gave him some self-belief.
Asked if he had deliberately set out to mend possible technical hiccups, Elgar said that was not the case.
He had a reasonably slow start to the summer, scoring regular 30’s and 40’s for Somerset in a six-week stint. But that proved to be the launching pad for something bigger.
“I was ticked off at being left out of the One-Day International team. I have been labelled as a so-called four-day specialist, but I have a decent one-day record (his average in domestic games is 37.91, not far behind his domestic first-class batting average off 44.12). “It motivated me,” he added.
Elgar turned his misfortune into an aspiration to prove his detractors and doubters wrong, as he was easily the best batsman on view in the A-series against India A and Australia A in June and July. “My focus was actually to keep it as simple as possible,” he said.
The leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed was on a hat-trick during the so-called first test in Pretoria before Elgar grabbed control by slamming his career-best 268 against Australia.
Elgar turned his autumn of despair into a winter of hope, and Boeta Dippenaar, a former SA batsman, believes Elgar must grab his opportunities by studying the Faf du Plessis- and JP Duminy-scripts.
“Dean is a very, very good batsman. He must remember that JP and Faf both entrenched themselves at test level by grabbing the opportunities provided through the unfortunate injuries to others,” he says.
“His performances during the SA winter have shown how wide the gap is between domestic level and test level,” he adds.
Even a much-improved Elgar in the starting line-up won’t easily off-set the possible loss of the world’s number-1 ranked test batsman, Amla, who averaged 70.93 and scored 1064 in 2012 in only nine tests.
And Dippenaar cautioned the SA batsmen about the Abu Dhabi-series: “if the ball turns appreciably, as was the case in the series against England, South Africa will have their work cut out. Saeed Ajmal won’t only be very difficult to handle with his orthodox off-spinner, but also with his doosrah,” he added.