Proteas skipper Dean Elgar on hat-trick hero Keshav Maharaj: He deserves more respect

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Keshav Maharaj (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)
Keshav Maharaj (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)
  • Proteas captain Dean Elgar said spinner Keshav Maharaj deserves more respect than what he's getting at the moment.
  • In taking 5/36 in the second innings of the 158-run win in the second Test against the West Indies, he also collected South Africa's first Test hat-trick in 61 years.
  • Elgar said he's also got an all-round bowling attack that will get even better

Proteas skipper Dean Elgar said spinner Keshav Maharaj is a huge player for his side and one who deserves more respect.

In unresponsive conditions at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground across two successful Tests against the West Indies, he fulfilled contrasting, but excellent roles.

In the second Test, he collected South Africa's second ever Test hat-trick and the first one since Geoff Griffin's against England in June 1960.

It was part of his seventh Test five-wicket haul that allowed South Africa to win the second Test against the West Indies by 158 runs and claim their first Test series success overseas since their 1-0 win against New Zealand in 2017.

Elgar, who won his first full series in charge as captain, said Maharaj's work has gone unnoticed and he's a huge player for them.

"Kesh is a massive player for the Proteas. He's changed the way he plays and he's willing to learn. From a bowling point, he's huge," Elgar said.

"The work that he does is unnoticed and he deserves more respect out of what he does as a cricketer. He got a test five/fer on a wicket that wasn't turning against the West Indies at home.

"In my opinion, that is huge and all I have is a lot of respect for Kesh and he's a huge player for us.

"He's been and will be a huge player for us and we hope he doesn't stop there. He's a character, doesn't like being second best, always wants to achieve more and strives to be the best."

While Maharaj was the perfect foil and pressure-builder, it was the pacemen who asked consistent and difficult questions of the West Indian batters.

In the first Test where SA bowled the West Indies out for 97, Anrich Nortje (4/35) softened up the top-order, from where Lungi Ngidi dismembered the lower and middle-order with 5/19.

In the second innings of the first Test, Kagiso Rabada collected his five-fer while Nortje took three.

In the second Test, the trio shared eight of the 19 wickets that fell, but the game was broken open late on the second day by Wiaan Mulder's three wickets gave South Africa a 149-run lead and good time to bat again in the second innings.

Elgar was effusive in the praise of his bowling attack and said they'll get even better.

"It's nice to have them in my team and they're a formidable threesome and they can put the fear into batsmen," Elgar said.

"It's something else watching them bowl when I'm standing at slip. They're machines and as the captain of this team, I'm privileged and honoured to have them in my attack.

"Their roles are so different, but so big and unique. They know their games and understand certain game plans.

"I can't speak too big about any one individual because they complement each other. They're a work in progress and they're going to get better, but it's a bit fearful for me having to face them in the nets. "

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