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Cricket | South Africa

Dean Elgar © Gallo Images

Elgar ready for test cricket - Boeta

The injury to JP Duminy in a warm-down session after the first day's play at the Gabba in Brisbane has opened the test door for Dean Elgar.

The 25-year old top order batsman from the Chevrolet Knights hails from Welkom in the Free State and has earned a call-up to the Proteas test squad in the same year that he made his Proteas ODI debut.

Former Proteas top-order batsman Boeta Dippenaar told supersport.com that he was surprised that Elgar made his ODI debut before his test debut.

"I think he is a better four day/test batsman than a one-day batsman, but he is definitely ready for test match cricket."

Elgar's ODI debut was in the recent series against England, his first game being washed out in Cardiff, with only 5.3 overs being bowled in the England innings. His first real taste of action arrived in the second match of the series at The Rose Bowl in Southampton where he scored 15 runs and returned figures of 3-1-11-1 with his left-arm spin, in a match that the Proteas won by 80 runs.

Dippenaar commented that Elgar is making his debut at the right time. "I think 25 is the right age to make your debut, he has learned his cricket and played a lot for South Africa 'A', and he can go from strength to strength," he said.

"Dean is a natural leader, he has done well for the Knights. He has always shown that natural leadership and that is a feather in his cap. He can always assist in the high pressure situation in international cricket," Dippenaar added.

Elgar has not played much first-class cricket of late, his last match being a Sunfoil Series game against the Titans back in September. This has not been due to lack of form or being out of favour with management but inclement weather as the Knights have had their last three Sunfoil matches abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Elgar's call-up to the Proteas team is purely as a back-up at this stage, as the man surely to fill Duminy's batting position in the second test that starts on 22 November in Adelaide will be Faf du Plessis. But cricket is a funny old game and as Duminy will tell you, anything can happen and at anytime!

So, the former South African under-19 captain will have to keep his mind focused and ready for any eventuality.

"It's always nice for someone to give you options and as we have seen within the South African team there are more than just a handful of bowlers who can be called upon, and I think it can only add to what he offers the team that he bowls as well. I don't think that he is a fulltime test-match spinner, but I think that he is someone that the captain can throw the ball to when a partnership develops or to just try something different," stated Dippenaar in referring to Elgar's bowling potential.

"Dean is very much a 'like for like' call-up to the team, which just shows how South African cricket has grown over the last couple of years -- we are seeing players that we never saw five or six years ago. I think it must be nice for the selectors to sit down and have all these options to choose from," Dippenaar said.

Dippenaar went on to offer some advice to the top-order batsman: "Don't think too much about the game, just go and enjoy the game. Australia is one the most enjoyable places to go and play cricket and has some of the best batting wickets in the world."

"The only thing that is different, that he will need to learn, are the pressures of international cricket, but if he can look past those pressures then the aspects of the game will be simpler because the wickets will be better, the bounce will be truer and I think his game is well suited for the Australian conditions," added Dippenaar.

Elgar certainly has the potential, he has scored 5 326 first-class runs at an average of 44.75 with 22 half centuries and 16 centuries. JP Duminy established himself in the test side when Ashwell Prince got injured and should Elgar get the opportunity, he could have a golden chance to establish himself as a genuine test contender.


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