South Africa Test captain Dean Elgar believes the hosts will go into the three-match Test series against India as favorites. Elgar predicted a close series against a strong opposition led by Virat Kohli.
The first Test begins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on December 26.
Elgar told The Indian Express:
“I think we are still the favorites going into the home series. Even though we haven’t played a lot of cricket in recent times, we have been good in what we have played. Anything can happen in Test cricket and India certainly is a very good side. Virat would no doubt want to come and beat South Africa in South Africa. This series is going to be so good. I can’t wait for it to start.”
India are yet to win a Test series in South Africa. The last time they toured the country in 2017-18, the Proteas won 2-1.
The series against India marks the international return of ex-Kolpak player Duanne Olivier. The pacer last played for South Africa at the start of 2019. However, Elgar said he holds no grudges against the cricketer over his decision to quit the national squad three years back.
“He is a massive player for us. He has been given the opportunity because he has done well in domestic cricket. People left because they weren’t given opportunities in South Africa. Every player has a choice and they actually took a massive gamble in going there and it has paid off for them. I don’t see any problem with that,” Elgar said.
Olivier has played 10 Tests for South Africa and has claimed 48 scalps at an excellent average of 19.2.
"It’s pretty unique and special" - Dean Elgar on leading South Africa
While captaining India comes with tremendous pressure given the expectations of a billion people, leading South Africa has challenges of its own. With the quota system and racism controversy rearing its ugly head frequently, captaining the cricket team is not an easy task.
Admitting things can get rather tough because of the dynamics involved, Elgar stated that he views the opportunity to lead the country as a privilege and not a burden. The tenacious batter elaborated:
“South Africa has its own challenges with regards to a lot of dynamics that make up South Africa; it’s pretty unique and special. I don’t think there is another country in the world that has to deal with this kind of dynamics in society. I have never run away from pressure, I think it brings the best out of me as a person. My personality gravitates towards such challenges that come with the job… We all have a unique story, be it black, white, Afrikaans, English Afrikaans; in South Africa, it’s just that we have a lot more diversity.”
Elgar has captained South Africa in four Tests so far, of which the team has won three and lost one.