Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa
Proteas captain Dean Elgar insists that he wants to be the best as South Africa prepare to face England in the first Test at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on Wednesday.
The clash at the ‘Home of Cricket’ marks the start of what is a three-match Test series, one the tourists will be aiming to win to consolidate their position at the top of the ICC World Test Championship rankings.
The Proteas are also presently ranked third in the world behind Australia and India in red-ball cricket and skipper Elgar has expressed his desire for them to reach the top.
“I didn’t take this job thinking that we would just be mid-table and not playing our best cricket,” he told the media at the pre-match media briefing on Tuesday. “It’s always been my goal and my ambition (to be the best).
“I’ve experienced us being world number one twice and the feeling is great. But I know it’s such a journey and hard work to get there. I want the young guys to experience that, I still want to experience it before I turn a chapter.
“But for me it’s definitely one of my biggest goals as captain. I wouldn’t be in this job if I thought we’re not capable of doing that.”
In England they come up against an opponent that has won their past four Tests, three against New Zealand and one versus India, under new coach Brendon McCullum. Their attacking style of play has drawn widespread praise, but Elgar believes the Proteas can challenge them.
“I think one of our biggest strengths as a Test side over the last period has been our awareness to adapt,” he said. “I think when you’re under the pump in Test cricket you need to have that quality and that skill. I think we fast-tracked that at quite a good rate just purely out of the guys having a good attitude around that.
“I think that’s going to be a massive factor for us in this series, especially if England do have a flier, which I know somewhere they’re going to have periods in the game where they’re going to be on top of us.
“We’re going to have to find a way to adapt into that situation. There’s been a lot of learnings from watching what happened in those series and I do think we’re a smarter side and adaptability is a big thing for me.”
Elgar confirmed that Kagiso Rabada had made good progress with his most recent injury in the past few days.
“KG has really done well in the last few days,” he said. “I think he’s very close to being fully-fit for this Test. We’re still currently waiting to learn the final I’d say 12, but his progress has been good and that’s positive for us.”
The Proteas have already won series against England and Ireland during their tour to the United Kingdom, both in the T20 International format. They also drew their One-Day International (ODI) series 1-1 against world champions England at the start of the trip.
Proteas Test squad against England
Dean Elgar (captain, Momentum Multiply Titans), Sarel Erwee (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Marco Jansen (Gbets Warriors), Simon Harmer (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Gbets Warriors), Keegan Petersen (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Imperial Lions), Ryan Rickelton (Imperial Lions), Lutho Sipamla (Imperial Lions), Rassie van der Dussen (Imperial Lions), Kyle Verreynne (wicketkeeper, Six Gun Grill Western Province), Khaya Zondo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Glenton Stuurman (Gbets Warriors).
South Africa Test Tour to England Itinerary
Four-Day Tour Match
09 – 12 August
Lions beat South Africa by an innings and 56 runs – The Spitfire Ground St Lawrence, Canterbury
17 – 21 August
England vs South Africa – Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
25 – 29 August
England vs South Africa – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
08 – 12 September
England vs South Africa – Kia Oval, London