Dean Elgar: It’s been nice to spend time with loved ones ... but
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CAPE TOWN – Proteas opening batsman Dean Elgar is expecting an intense start to the 4-Day Franchise Series when the new season starts in a little under two weeks.
With no international cricket currently scheduled, nearly all the Proteas players are expected to be available for the start of South Africa’s domestic programme, which is seeing the sport also return for the first time since it was prematurely ended by the Covid-19 pandemic more than seven months ago.
The lockdown in between kept everyone tied down at home, although normality is slowly starting to return following the phased lifting of restrictions in the last few weeks.
Elgar concedes there were pros and cons of not having to play cricket, but he felt the time was now right to return to play again.
“I think I speak on behalf of most of our players if not all of them as well as the coaching staff when I say it’s been frustrating,” he said. “We’ve been putting in some really good work these last few months and we’re just excited to start playing again.
“It has been quite a long one and also an enjoyable one being home and spending time with your loved ones. But I do feel that it’s now time to get back on the park again. So with the first ball to be bowled on 2 November, I have no doubt everyone is going to be raring to go.”
The opening round of fixtures will see Elgar’s Titans team travel to Cape Town to face the Cape Cobras at Newlands, while the Dolphins and Knights host the Lions and Warriors, respectively.
The competition has also been restructured with the six teams divided into two pools of three each.
It means all the focus will be on the first-class game and the 63-match Test veteran feels this will only help improve the quality of cricket.
“Pretty much all the Proteas will be back at this stage, bar those in the IPL, so there’s no doubt it will add further intensity and strength to the game,” Elgar said.
“I think the competition is going to be pretty strong. It’s exciting and I’m sure a lot of franchise cricketers are also waiting for their opportunity to showcase what they have to offer to the set-up. I’m sure once it does get going then the cricket’s going to be very good.”
Elgar did not play a four-day match for the Titans last year due to his busy international schedule with the Proteas. This time, however, there is a good chance he will be available for at least the opening five or six games.
“I can’t remember when last I was available to play so many four-day games,” he added.
“If I look back to last year, I don’t think I played any games because we had various tours that we had and now it looks like we’re basically going to be available for close to the whole four-day competition.
“As it stands, we’re going to be available for the whole season for the Titans. But I’m just keen to get out there and bat and that’s what I am most looking forward to at this stage.”