Elgar gleeful as ex-Kolpaks bolster Proteas' England challenge: 'Stupid not to use them'

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  • Proteas Test skipper Dean Elgar is pleased the national selectors have shown open minds in recalling ex-Kolpak players to international cricket.
  • South Africa have two prominent exiles in Simon Harmer and Duanne Olivier back, experience Elgar believes SA would've been "stupid" not to use. 
  • Elgar is also excited by the form shown by Harmer and Ryan Rickelton in county cricket going into the England Test series.

Dean Elgar has indirectly praised the national selectors for their willingness to recall ex-Kolpak stalwarts for the Proteas Test team.

Indeed, in one of the game's most prominent recent ironies, South Africa have two of their most controversial exponents - Simon Harmer and Duanne Olivier - back in harness for the three-Test series against England starting next week.

Five years ago, when the Proteas last toured the UK, Harmer had just commenced his outstanding stint with Essex while Olivier would follow suit two years later in joining Yorkshire, mere weeks after scalping 24 Pakistani batters in three matches.

With Brexit invalidating those agreements and the duo returning as far more rounded cricketers, it's been relatively easy for the national hierarchy to forgive and move on.

READ | Proteas still unsure about Rabada's return for 1st English Test: 'I can't say yes or no'

"Yeah, those options are there for us to use and it's up to us to decide whether we want to use them or not," said Elgar.

"I'm very much inclined to have those players around. They're experienced, accomplished cricketers and have particularly vast experience of county cricket.

"The numbers they've put out over the past few years is quite something (and those skillsets) are definitely something we can use to our advantage. And that's why we need to use them.

"It would be stupid if we don't."

So highly has Elgar rated Harmer and Olivier's input that he even believes they perform a major service just as mere squad players, much like the Springboks' non-playing personnel.

"They don't even have to potentially play. They're just great for the changeroom from an information and knowledge point of view," he said.

However, there would be a very strong case for Harmer's continued inclusion as he's once again blossomed for Essex in taking 46 wickets at 23.73 in 9 matches this season, part of staggering body of work that's seen him harvest 349 batting victims in five years.

Along with Ryan Rickelton - who ended a four-match stint with Northamptonshire with an impressive 539 runs - the Proteas have two members in prime form in the local conditions. 

"Those options are brilliant for us, we're ticking the boxes, having some guys playing county cricket here and actually performing really well," said Elgar.

"That's a massive advantage for us going into the Test series, even if it's just having guys with knowledge of current conditions. They will help not just on the field but with off-field insights too."

The Proteas commence a four-day warm-up against the England Lions in Canterbury from Tuesday.

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