Elgar not in favour of injury subs in Tests: What if they jippo the system?

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Dhananjaya de Silva had to retire not out due to a leg problem (Gallo Images)
Dhananjaya de Silva had to retire not out due to a leg problem (Gallo Images)
  • Proteas opener Dean Elgar wouldn't be in favour of injury substitutions in Test cricket, believing it would take away some of the "drama" and "theatre" of the format.
  • The debate is in the spotlight again as Sri Lanka grapples with two injuries in the first Test in Centurion.
  • Elgar is also wary of a rule change being used for tactical reasons instead of addressing a genuine injury concern. 

Dean Elgar won't become an advocate for injury substitutions at international level anytime soon.

The Proteas opener has been part of various playing XIs where the national side drew a short straw when it came to game-ending afflictions to team-mates, notably in Australia in 2012 when JP Duminy tore an Achilles after the first Test in Brisbane, as well as four years later in Perth when Dale Steyn cried off with a serious shoulder problem.

That debate has reared its head again in the current first Test against Sri Lanka in Centurion, where the Islanders have been severely compromised.

Dhananjaya de Silva was ruled out of the series on the opening day when he agonisingly injured his thigh have caressed his way to an unbeaten 79, while seamer Kasun Rajitha only sent down 13 deliveries before leaving the scene with a groin problem.

While Elgar sympathises with his opponents' plight, he's not in favour of allowing replacements during a match.

"I believe it's going to take out some of the excitement of the format," said the left-hander, who's played an instrumental role in putting South Africa in a powerful postion.

"There have already been rules changed in terms of concussion substitutes, which I feel is the right call. However, soft tissue injuries have been around for decades.

"I don't see how that suddenly changes everything. To be honest, those unfortunate instances have the benefit of creating some theatre, it's what makes Test cricket exciting."

Elgar could've pointed to the stirring victory at the WACA four years ago as a perfect case in point, where Steyn's untimely departure from the scene brought out the best in the Proteas' fighting spirit and led to a magnificent 177-run victory.

For their part, Sri Lanka have been philosophical and cagey over their personnel problems.

"Kasun Rajitha's injury is really going to affect us - we all know how well he bowled on the last tour here," said all-rounder Dasun Shanaka.

"Dhananjaya de Silva also comes in and bowls when they are batting well, and he dries up the runs for us. He does that job. I think we will feel their absence.

"There's a big effect with the loss of those two. We've only got four bowlers, but we'll have to manage. We have to think of it as an opportunity."

Elgar is also wary of more sly teams using injury substitutions as a tactic.

"What if some guys jippo the system? They pull up with an 'injury' when things are going bad and the run rate's five or six runs an over. Another guy can come in and perhaps change things. I just can't see that rule being bent or changed." 

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