CAPE TOWN : Stand-in captain Dean Elgar said he will not let the emotions of his final international outing impact the game when South Africa take to the field on Wednesday for the second, and final, test against India at Newlands.
Elgar, 36, is retiring from international cricket after the brief series and will captain the side in the place of injured Temba Bavuma as South Africa chase a 2-0 series victory after winning the first test by an innings and 32 runs.
“It’s business as usual for us. It’s a massive test for us, obviously our highlight test match of the year, the New Year’s test at Newlands and it doesn’t get much bigger and better than against really tough opposition in India,” he told a press conference on Tuesday.
Elgar was named man-of-the-match after scoring 185 in the first innings of the opening test and is key to home hopes of winning again.
“I’m not too focused on what’s going on behind the scenes around myself. It is what it is, and every player who has retired before has gone through much the same thing. For me, it’s another game and we’ll worry about the retirement afterwards.”
Elgar said South Africa had been determined to make a positive start to the series and now seek to finish it off in similar style.
“It being a two-match series, we knew we couldn’t afford to start slowly, unlike some of our series in the past. We really played well (in Pretoria) and it was probably the perfect test, except for some of the catching,” he said.
“There are quite a lot of young and inexperienced players in our team but they have a great opportunity. Tomorrow, we need to obviously throw the first punch and we’ve talked about the position we’re in and the occasion.”
Injury to Bavuma provides Elgar with the captaincy in his final test, a fortuitous turn of events after being replaced as skipper some 10 months ago.
“I don’t think you get a bigger accolade or bigger credit from a playing point of view in your career than to be asked to captain your side,” he said.
“I did it in the past for a year and a half and it was probably the best learning experience for me as an individual, not just from cricket but off the field too,” he added.