- Newly appointed Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar said he's grown considerably from his two previous leadership stints.
- Elgar captained the Test team on two occasions when former captain Faf du Plessis wasn't available.
- Elgar is the most experienced member of the SA Test side that's struggled recently.
Newly installed Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar said he's grown considerably from his stand-in leadership stints when the team was captained by Faf du Plessis.
Elgar, who made a pair on his Test debut against Australia in Perth in 2012, has captained the Proteas twice.
Those matches were against England at Lords in 2017 and Pakistan at the Wanderers in 2019.
The results in those games were contrasting, but Elgar said he's come a long way from the reluctant leaders in those matches.
Elgar replaces the recently retired Du Plessis on a permanent basis after Quinton de Kock stood in during the 2020/21 summer, with mixed results.
"That was a few years ago and I've played quite a few matches since then. I've learnt a lot more about what Test cricket is and how a team operates behind the scenes. I've been fortunate enough to be part of the leadership group for a couple of seasons, so I've learnt from guys like Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis," Elgar said.
"I'd like to think I have established the experience but I hope I'll have guys like Temba around, along with guys like Graeme, Mark and Enoch around to help with the environment."
While Elgar's batting is skittish, at times jittery, but highly effective, it's far removed from his forthright and honest demeanour when engaging colleagues and the media.
Elgar said his mannerism aren't going to be changed by the captaincy, but also understands the hard work that'll have to be put in to help South Africa return to competitiveness against the major teams.
"I'm still going to be the same guy who'll have open and honest conversations with my teammates, the management and the media. I'm very much aware of the external responsibilities that come with this job and I've been around long enough to take it into my stride," Elgar said.
"My goal is to get us back to where we were some years ago, but it's going to be hard work. It's not going to be a walk in the park. I'm extremely fortunate to be given this opportunity to get us on the right track, but I also have a number of good heads around me."
Elgar's 67-match career has seen him being part of extreme highs and equally crushing lows.
The changing room has changed significantly in his time with the national team.
Elgar's accepted the loss of the senior players, but also said the forward moving nature of the game provides him and his teammates a chance to forge something new for themselves.
"Losing the big-name players is something else and they can't be replaced, but cricket has to move on. The sport hasn't stopped for anyone leaving the game and we owe to the sport for moving forward. We've got a lot of young and exciting players knocking on or breaking down doors to get a foot in the squad," Elgar said.
"It's good to have fresh blood around. Yes, we're not at an experienced level that we should have been at in the past, but it's a good stepping stone and we have a number of experienced players in the squad. I'm going to rely on them to help me through this journey. It's going to be an almighty, but very exciting challenge."