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Captain Dean Elgar of South Africa looks on at the end of day five of the Second Test in the series between New Zealand and South Africa at Hagley Oval on March 1 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/KAI SCHWOERER
Captain Dean Elgar of South Africa looks on at the end of day five of the Second Test in the series between New Zealand and South Africa at Hagley Oval on March 1 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/KAI SCHWOERER
Captain Dean Elgar of South Africa looks on at the end of day five of the Second Test in the series between New Zealand and South Africa at Hagley Oval on March 1 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/KAI SCHWOERER
Captain Dean Elgar of South Africa looks on at the end of day five of the Second Test in the series between New Zealand and South Africa at Hagley Oval on March 1 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/KAI SCHWOERER

SA Test captain Dean Elgar believes his team have improved beyond most expectations after they completed a comfortable 2-0 home series win over Bangladesh that was played without six of their first-team regulars.

The side recently beat India 2-1 at home and also played to a 1-1 draw in New Zealand to record five wins from seven matches over the season, five of which were played against the two teams that contested the Test World Championship final in 2021.

“Not a lot of people would have given us those kind of stats at the start of the season, but it is great to have the numbers on our side. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that went into this,” Elgar said after SA’s 332-run win over Bangladesh at St George’s Park on Monday.

“We are on the right path and doing things in the correct way. I’m extremely proud of the Test summer and the depth we have shown with regards to our selection pool, giving guys an opportunity so they can see what Test cricket is all about.”

The hosts had six players who opted to feature in the lucrative Indian Premier League over the Bangladesh series, and Elgar made it clear it is not certain all will return to the Test team. The six are batsmen Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen, and the pace quartet of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortjé, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen.

“I can’t speak if those guys are going to be selected again, that is out of my hands. I can’t speak right now of combinations going forward,” he said.

“It is a great headache to have. You always want more options than none, and just by giving guys experience you create a lot more depth going forward. Our Test side is in a very healthy position.”

He admitted to concerns over the batting department, which managed only two centuries all summer, both coming in the second Test against New Zealand via Sarel Erwee and Kyle Verreynne.

“We need to notch up a few more hundreds. We know how much pressure you put on the opposition if you do that. Our batting is probably the one negative area. We are aware of it and are working bloody hard.”

The Proteas next tour England from July to September and will visit Australia over the New Year holidays.

Reuters


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