Dean Elgar says that leading South Africa in a Test at Lord’s will be the proudest moment of his career.
Elgar’s father and his former high school teacher, Louis Klopper - who’d promised Elgar when he was kid that he’d one day play at the traditional home of cricket - will both be in attendance for Thursday’s opening day’s play.
“This is the most proud I’ve felt thus far in my career,” Elgar acknowledged on Wednesday morning.
The 30 year old opener was appointed captain for this Test after Faf du Plessis chose to stay home following the birth of he and wife Imari’s first child. “Faf’s been given that right because we as team fulfill what players need with regard to family.”
Elgar said South Africa had still not settled on a final eleven for the opening Test of the four match series, saying the selectors were weighing up whether to start Theunis de Bruyn or Chris Morris - the latter would give Elgar an extra bowling option.
De Bruyn has struggled in England for both the SA A side and then last week for the senior SA team in a warm-up game against the England Lions.
Elgar hinted that the selectors wanted to give both Morris and De Bruyn one last look before making up their minds this evening.
England’s new captain, Joe Root doesn’t have that problem, announcing his starting team that will include the left arm slow bowling all-rounder Liam Dawson.
“He offered us very good control when he played for us in India,” remarked Root.
Gary Ballance will bat at no.3 with Root at no.4. “Four is where I feel I will bat best,” said Root.
He will have plenty of bowlers to choose from - seven in total including his own off-spin.
Root said South Africa would provide a significant challenge for his England side which has struggled in the Test format in the last 12 months, losing seven of 14 Tests.
“They play well in foreign conditions. They are a side that needs to be respected, obviously they’ve always had some very fine seam bowlers.”
South Africa has won the last two Test series in England, and on both occasions ended with their captains resigning. No one is expecting the same for Root this year, and he’s excited at the prospect of leading his country.
“It’s been a long time, but it’s very exciting. I just can’t wait to start,” he said.
SA: Dean Elgar (capt), Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn/Chris Morris, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.
England (possible): Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Mark Wood.