JOHANNESBURG – Dean Elgar’s vast experience of playing on the English County circuit made him an obvious choice to replace the injured Hashim Amla for the short ODI series with Zimbabwe, and it hands the gutsy left-hander an intriguing opportunity to press his claims for a World Cup spot in conditions he knows very well.
“Dean is a like for like swap with Hash,” national coach Ottis Gibson said in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning.
Amla was withdrawn from the squad for three ODIs against Zimbabwe with a finger injury with Elgar, as Gibson acknowledged, a somewhat surprising choice to replace him. Elgar has played six ODIs, making his debut in England in 2012 and then controversially playing the last match of the series against India in 2015.
Elgar has expressed his irritation at being boxed as a Test player, and will thus not be struggling for motivation against Zimbabwe. “You think about the World Cup and you think about Dean’s record with almost every county he’s played for, and clearly he comes into the conversation.”
Elgar has had great success for both Somerset and Surrey in the one-day competitions in England recently and his knowledge of the various grounds South Africa will play at during the World Cup next year would be a very valuable asset for the Proteas. “He has made it clear he is keen on playing one-day international cricket and this gives us a chance to see him,” said Gibson.
In the absence of the experienced triumvirate of Amla, Faf du Plessis (injured) and Quinton de Kock (rested) the Test opener also lends invaluable experience at the top of the order.
The first of the three ODIs between South Africa and Zimbabwe will be played in Kimberley on Sunday.