- Proteas captain Dean Elgar backs his middle-order to contribute in the second Test against England at Old Trafford.
- Elgar adds that consistency will be key as he hopes his players can make the most with the bat this week.
- The Proteas look to seal the three-match Test series and states he is happy that the newcomers do not have “baggage” from their 2017 Test loss in Manchester.
Proteas skipper Dean Elgar says South Africa will continue to back their batting order in the second Test against England starting at Old Trafford on Thursday.
The Proteas lead the three-match series 1-0 and will look to clinch their first Test series win in England since 2012.
Despite an innings and 12-run victory at Lord’s last week, the Proteas batting order came with a bit of scrutiny with only a handful of contributions, which included opener Sarel Erwee top-scoring with 73 along with partner Elgar (47), lower order batters Marco Jansen (48) and Keshav Maharaj (41).
Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen and Kyle Verreynne (who came in at No 6 due to personal reasons) only scored 46 runs altogether, with injured Temba Bavuma’s recovery still in looming over the selectors’ heads.
Elgar insists his middle order will come right and hopes they can put their hand up, delivering consistent performances with the bat.
“We have extra resources, no doubt, but as long as we are still getting the results, the backing is extremely important for those guys,” Elgar told reporters on Wednesday.
“We have given them a decent run of late, but I’m sure they know they are under pressure to perform, they are proper batsmen. They are here for a reason and hopefully, they get everything going the right way for this Test match so they can put us in a stronger position.
“If they are firing in the middle order and we conduct ourselves the way we have been doing of late, our Test side can only grow from there. But they’re here and backed.
“Consistency is key in Test cricket and in selection. It’s a tough series against England and you’ll have to back your horses that you’ve been backing for some time now. All you can do is give them the best resources to try and do well. Hopefully, it comes off.”
Proteas Test squad for England tour:
Dean Elgar (captain, Titans), Sarel Erwee (Dolphins), Marco Jansen (Warriors), Simon Harmer (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Keegan Petersen (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Ryan Rickelton (Lions), Lutho Sipamla (Lions), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions), Kyle Verreynne (wicketkeeper, Western Province), Khaya Zondo (Dolphins), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors).
The last time the two sides met at Old Trafford, the Proteas suffered a 177-run loss to lose the four-match Test series 3-1 in 2017.
Elgar was one of three players who were part of the loss in Manchester and hopes that South Africa’s newcomers can stake their claim against an experienced England attack.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys who haven’t had any failures of late when touring so they don’t come with a lot of baggage, but yet they don’t have much experience,” said Elgar.
“Either way, it’s a nice thing to have when you have young blood and guys that want and are eager to play, but you can’t have everyone play at the same time.
“It’s a fresh squad, there’s no baggage and the hunger and competition within the squad is huge. I think this is the strongest competition I’ve seen it and it’s healthy and not malicious,” he continued.
“We’re in a good place and red flags would be in too much of a comfortable position. It’s up to myself and the coach to pull the guys in line, irrespective of how you’ve been there. Everyone is on the same page and I see everyone as an equal, we share a big responsibility to driving the message.”
Play starts at 12:00 (SA time) on Thursday.