Elgar full of confidence for summer ahead
Chevrolet Knights batsman Dean Elgar is hoping to transfer how good he feels in practice out into the middle as the left-hander eyes another summer and another push to make the national team.
This search for runs will begin on Saturday when Elgar heads out to the crease for South Africa A against Sri Lanka A in a four-day game at Kingsmead in Durban.
"I had two good knocks in warm-up matches here and even when I've been practising in Bloemfontein I've just felt really good, in fact this is the best I've ever felt," Elgar said on Tuesday at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria where the SA A squad are training ahead of the series against the Sri Lankans.
"So the confidence and the technique are there, I just have to apply and execute," Elgar added.
This could well be the year that Elgar finally makes his international debut as he has been a prolific scorer at domestic level for several years now and he was chosen in South Africa's squad for the one-day international series against Sri Lanka but had to withdraw without playing a match due to a knee injury.
"I had a bite of the cherry but then my knee had other plans. It's one of those things, that's cricket, but when you've got a personal goal like playing for the national side, you don't get disheartened by things like that," the 25-year-old said philosophically.
Elgar believes he could fit into either the test or ODI team, but admits "there are awesome players currently in the national side". He would like to open the batting in the longer form of the game, but would be happy to slot in anywhere in the limited-overs line-up.
"I think I'm firmly positioned as an opener in four-day cricket, but in the one-dayers I can bat anywhere between one and five. I had a lot of success for the Knights batting in the middle-order, but the national team chooses you where to bat, you don't choose where you want to bat!" Elgar said.
The Welkom-born former SA U19 captain is also a fine fielder and can also bowl accurate left-arm spin, which can only help his chances of making the ODI squad.
His temperament is proven by the number of times he has saved the Knights from precarious positions, his grittiness and sheer survival instinct at the crease drawing comparisons to former Australian opener Justin Langer.
"The important thing is to be patient and just keep doing what makes you successful, what I'm comfortable with in my game. You don't want to tinker too much because that can be the recipe for disaster," Elgar said.
The summer may well start with Elgar once again with the SA A team - when they head to Zimbabwe for the triangular series there with Sri Lanka A it will be his seventh tour with them - but it could well end with him having finally made the step up to full international colours.