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’Keshav Maharaj is always my number one spinner, says Proteas captain Dean Elgar

Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj poses with his trophies after receiving the player of the match and player of the series awards following the second Test cricket match against Bangladesh. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP

Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj poses with his trophies after receiving the player of the match and player of the series awards following the second Test cricket match against Bangladesh. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP

Published Apr 11, 2022

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Proteas captain Dean Elgar has stressed that Keshav Maharaj will “always be my number one spinner.”

Maharaj delivered his second successive Player of the Match performance at St George’s Park, claiming 7/40 – the first bowler to take seven wickets in a fourth innings twice in a row – to bowl out Bangladesh for just 80 at St George’s Park.

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The left-arm spinner’s heroics enabled South Africa to win the second Test by 332 runs and seal the series 2-0.

The series was a revelation for the Proteas in terms of the success Maharaj achieved on home soil, but also the fact that he had bowled brilliantly in tandem with Simon Harmer.

The off-spinner, who was playing in his first series since returning to the Proteas fold after playing for Essex as a Kolpak, also finished with 13 wickets to Maharaj’s 16 for the series.

The spin twins bowled throughout both Bangladesh’s fourth innings of both Tests and claimed all 20 wickets in the process.

“I’m extremely happy with how the guys pitched up for the last two Tests, lot of tough style of plays had to be implemented and something I am not familiar with,” Elgar said after the Proteas completed the whitewash.

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“Nonetheless, it was good to try those things out even when you're playing good cricket. The biggest thing for them - Keshav and Simon - was to trust the process. Keshav will always be my number one spinner, but it was about them trusting my thought and process.

“Luckily the conditions we played in assisted that. But yeah what a combination that is! Great to see two guys go about their business at the highest level. We have a good core of spin bowlers in this squad. It is good to have Keshav and Simon as the reference point going forward,” he added.

Furthermore, Elgar was pleased with a Test summer that had seen the Proteas overcome India (2-1) and Bangladesh (2-0) on home soil, while also drawing an away series with World Test champions New Zealand (1-1).

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The results meant even more to the skipper due to the fact that the team that faced Bangladesh was without five of its regulars that had opted to play in the Indian Premier League instead.

“It has been a good last few months since I have taken over the captaincy. Obviously playing this series as people say a weakened squad, but I don't see it as that. I see giving guys an opportunity at this level and try to test their skills as an international cricketer,” he said.

“There's still hard work to go by as Test cricket is a tough arena and we have to come up with certain gameplans. The attitude of the younger guys coming through, runs from the lower order, and I would also say guys putting their hands up and putting pressure on guys who are not here.”

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