Dean Elgar retirement adds spice to India series, says Temba Bavuma

South Africa's Temba Bavuma (L) shakes hands with South Africa's Dean Elgar (2nd L) after South Africa won the second Test cricket match between South Africa and India at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg

Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma (left) said he hopes his charges will give the veteran Dean Elgar (right) a fitting send-off in the India Test series, starting at SuperSport Park on Tuesday. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Dec 24, 2023


Following the news earlier this week that Dean Elgar will be retiring from international cricket after the Test series against India, Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma said he hopes his charges will give the veteran a fitting send-off.

South Africa host India in the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion starting on Tuesday, with the second and final clash set for Newlands in Cape Town on January 3.

The 36-year-old Elgar has played 84 Tests for South Africa, after making his debut back in 2012.

Bavuma, who has not played at all since South Africa’s loss in the Cricket World Cup semi-final last month, said playing well for the senior statesman in the team could add to the excitement of the series.

‘Dean will be celebrated’

“Where Dean is in his career, just adds to the sentiment of the series. Dean will be celebrated as much as we can within our team,” said Bavuma.

“We hope that he’s celebrated accordingly by South African cricket and the public. He’s been an integral part of this team over the years. For us as players, we’d like to make the series a special send off for him.”

Bavuma had a poor World Cup with the bat, and did not have time in the middle ahead of the Test series. However, Bavuma said that would not negatively influence his approach.

“Being mentally fresh is always a big positive. I didn’t get any red ball cricket under my belt. I was meant to, but things happened with the bereavement back at home. I missed out on the four-day game I was supposed to play last week. Mentally, I’m as fresh as ever.”

South Africa have won seven of the eight Test series in which India have toured South Africa, with the other being drawn. Continuing this strong record will be important for the Proteas, said Bavuma.

“There’s a lot of pride that we’ve been able to keep that record intact. It’s quite nice that I was part of one of those teams that achieved that. Now in a different role as captain, you want to make sure you play your part.

“Looking at our Test team, it’s still in a discovery phase. We’re still a team in building, with a lot more new faces in the team. I don’t think there’s any extra pressure on the players [to play a certain way]. We want to strive to play an attractive, winning brand of cricket.”