- Dean Elgar says Proteas captain Quinton de Kock may be quiet, but behind the scenes he can get quite anxious.
- De Kock is leading the Proteas in their Test series against Sri Lanka.
- Elgar is one of a number of players in the Proteas leadership group that is assisting De Kock on the field.
While most of the current crop of Proteas have experienced playing under the captaincy of Quinton de Kock in white ball cricket, Test opener Dean Elgar has not.
Elgar has just eight ODIs to his name, the last of which came back in 2018, and while he has shared the field with De Kock for years on the Test stage, the dynamic during the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka would have been slightly different.
Now a stalwart of this Test side and one of the names in the conversation around who the next permanent Proteas Test captain should be after Faf du Plessis stepped down, Elgar is very much a part of the leadership core in this group.
De Kock is the man in charge for this season, but he is relying on the senior players around him like Elgar, Du Plessis, Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen to play their part too.
"He's very quiet, but we kind of know where he is coming from," Elgar said of De Kock while addressing media on Saturday.
"He wants to lead from the front ... but I think he requires a lot of guys to come up to the front and stand up for him as well.
"He has a tough job standing behind the stumps so he can't always be running up and down to bowlers. He's going to rely on the likes of myself, Temba, Rassie and Dup (Du Plessis) to lead that leadership group on his behalf just to take a little bit off his plate.
"As a character, I know he'll welcome that with open arms and he knows he can't do it all by himself. He has a few experienced heads around, so he might as well use them."
It is no great surprise that De Kock likes to let his performances do the talking and he is often a man of few words in front of the cameras, but Elgar saw a side of De Kock he hadn't seen before during the Centurion Test.
The Proteas were comfortable winners and De Kock got his Test captaincy off to the perfect start, but there were moments in the match, not necessarily on the field, where his emotions came to the surface.
"He's a very passionate cricketer, first and foremost, and you wouldn't say that when you look at him from an outsider's point of view," he said.
"It's early days and there are still a lot of learnings ahead.
"I realised he's quite an anxious guy in the changeroom when he can't influence a game on the field. It's good to see that and it shows that he has that passion."
De Kock and the Proteas now take a 1-0 series lead into the second and final Test at the Wanderers from Sunday.
Play starts at 10:00.