Proteas

Indestructible Elgar must prove he is more than just that

Dean Elgar (Gallo)
Dean Elgar (Gallo)

Cape Town - Proteas Test opener Dean Elgar has shown on numerous occasions that, on his day, he is one of world cricket's most indestructible batsmen. 

His ability to stay put in the most trying conditions is a quality that has saved South Africa countless times, and as a result he has earned a reputation as on of the Test side's most valuable assets.

Now 31 and with 51 Tests to his name, Elgar has notched up 11 tons and boasts a healthy 41.05 average in the format. 

Those numbers clearly show the quality of the player, but over the next couple of weeks Elgar will have an opportunity to prove that he is more than just a nuggety cricketer.

With Hashim Amla out injured, Elgar has been called up to the Proteas for three ODIs against Zimbabwe and he now has a chance to make a play for next year's World Cup squad. 

It seems almost certain that Elgar will be picked for Sunday's opening ODI in Kimberley, and he will need to hit the ground running if he is to disrupt that status quo and book a ticket to England next year. 

Amla and Quinton de Kock form one of the most dangerous opening pairs in ODI cricket, and it is hard to see how anyone will break that partnership. 

Moving Amla down to No 3 is one option, but before any of that happens Elgar needs to do enough over the next three matches to suggest that he is undroppable. 

The major test for the left-hander will be scoring rate, but a look at Elgar's numbers in domestic cricket suggests that he is more than capable. 

He has proven over his years at the Titans that he has vast shot-making ability and that he is a powerful striker of the ball. Elgar averages 42.65 in List A cricket at a strike rate of 79.57.

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has been vocal on the side wanting to play a positive, attacking brand of cricket that always looks to take the game forward. 

"These games are an opportunity for us to look at players and see if they can fit into the system," Gibson said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"I would imagine that Dean's selection caused a bit of a talking point."

The plan at the moment is to ensure that there are two players in every position as preparations for the World Cup continue. 

While Amla and De Kock are obviously the first-choice opening pairing, Gibson now has a chance to try something new and work on a back-up plan. 

De Kock is being rested for the Zimbabwe series, and Elgar's opening partner is likely to be Reeza Hendricks. 

"Dean is a like-for-like swap for Hash," Gibson explained.

"This is looking ahead to the World Cup, and when you see Dean's record for every county that he has played for in England, then he must come into the conversation.

"He's always made it clear that he is keen on playing ODI cricket and this gives us a chance to see him in that position."

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