Elgar hopes first-class changes will get better: 'We're learning in the most ruthless, brutal way'

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South African batter Dean Elgar
South African batter Dean Elgar
Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
  • Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar hopes a change in the number of matches played in SA's first-class system will help ease the pressure on the Test team.
  • The Proteas were thrashed by an innings and 182 runs by Australia in the second Test in Melbourne.
  • Elgar said they still have to play for pride when they complete their tour with next week's third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar hopes that the restructuring of SA's first-class game output will help ease the "ruthless and brutal" lessons his charges experienced at the highest level.

South Africa suffered an innings and 182-caning at the hands of Australia in the second Test in Melbourne that ended on Thursday.

The defeat ended South Africa's proud Test series record in Australia that stretched back to 2006, with the similarity of those rubbers being the changes to SA's domestic system.

READ | Proteas in crisis: Top cricket boss responds to batting calamity, concedes 'no quick fix

When the Proteas toured Australia under Graeme Smith in the 2005/06 festive season, the now-defunct franchise system was in its second season.

Elgar, South Africa's schools' cricket captain at the time and who went to the U19 World Cup in Sri Lanka, led a team picked from players who may have experienced franchise cricket but now fall under a two-tier provincial system.

The system sees the eight first-division sides playing seven games instead of 10 from the franchise system, with Elgar hinting at changes that may be implemented at the end of next season.

"I hope that spiral can come to an end by the end of next season where the first-class game can be looked after better," Elgar said.

"It is potentially in the plans that we should have more first-class cricket back at home, but I have to bite my tongue because if I don't, it'll be fairly pointless, but I've also been going on about our scheduling and how we should be playing more Test cricket.

"Our players need to be exposed more at this level, and even if we're taking hidings as we have now, our players need to be exposed to that.

"We are learning in the most ruthless and brutal way. There are more learnings out of this than playing and beating a team of similar strength.

"However, I'm a cricket guy and not an admin person, so I can only ask for what will be okay and right for cricket in South Africa."

READ | Elgar bemoans lack of Proteas batting character: 'It's a tough one to digest'

South Africa head to Sydney next, having last won in 1994, where they'll be looking to salvage what remains of the Test series and World Test Championship points.

Elgar said they have tremendous pride at stake and will throw everything into next week's Test.

"We're playing for the badge and the pride of our team," Elgar said.

"2-1 sounds better than 3-0, so we have to believe that we can bounce back and put up a massive effort for the third Test.

"Playing for pride is very important for us going forward and I think there are a lot of guys who are hurting next door.

"We need to restore a little bit of pride that has been hurt in the last two weeks."

READ | Skipper Elgar left gutted by 'weak' Proteas in Melbourne: 'There weren't a lot of positives'

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