South Africa

‘This is my World Cup,’ says Elgar ahead of farewell Test against India


“It doesn’t get bigger and better than this … a New Year’s Test at Newlands.”

That’s how Proteas captain Dean Elgar described the challenge facing his team ahead of the second Test against India which gets underway in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The Proteas go into the game with a 1-0 lead in the two-match series having won the first Test by more than an innings in Centurion last week.

The match at Newlands will also be Elgar’s last, the opening batter having announced his retirement from Test cricket before the series started late last year.

Elgar said there was a job to do, to secure a series win, before he could start thinking about his retirement.

‘Highlight of the year’

“It’s business as usual,” said the 36-year-old who’ll play in his 86th Test this week.

“I think the emotions will only set in after the game. This is a massive test for us, our highlight of the year … a New Year’s Test at Newlands. It doesn’t get bigger or better.”

Elgar, who scored a scintillating 185 in the first Test at Centurion added: “We must throw the first punch.

“It is a big occasion for all of us, we’re in a good position knowing we can’t lose the series, but we’re not thinking of a draw. We’ve got a chance to win it. I’m not concerned about my own records, though I want to always contribute, but for me it’s only about winning Test matches and series and that is again the goal.

“We knew coming into the series, with it being only two matches, we couldn’t afford to make a slow start, something we’ve been knowing to do in the past, and we didn’t.

“We almost played the perfect Test at Centurion, bar the slip catching, and now coming to Newlands, we’re very mindful of the opportunity ahead of us.”

Captaincy

Elgar said he felt pride in being asked to captain the side in his farewell Test.

“There’s no bigger accolade in sport than to be asked to captain the (national) side,” said the opener.

“It’s probably been the best learning experience for me, not just in a cricketing sense, but off the field as well. I’d like to think I’ve always given 100 percent and showed the youngsters the right way. There’s been no bigger honour for me. And this Test against India, and the opportunity to win the series, is my World Cup.”

Elgar said a typical Newlands wicket awaited the players: “I played a few domestic games here this season, and it was quite juicy, but it looks like a good cricket wicket.

“Newlands has always been a place where if you apply yourself with the bat you’ll do well, and if you put the ball in the right areas, with the right intensity, you’ll do well with the ball.” ends