Cricket

If there is one bowler who can exploit South African conditions, it is Bumrah: Elgar

Dean Elgar.

Dean Elgar.

South Africa captain Dean Elgar feels the Indian pace attack has improved immensely, especially overseas, and Jasprit Bumrah is best placed to exploit the “spicy” conditions in the rainbow nation.

India, who lost the series 1-2 back in 2018, are primed for their maiden Test series win in South Africa.

The home team also lacks in experience with the likes AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Faf Du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander, who were all part of the 2018 series, retired from the game.

Bumrah hade made his Test debut in that series and has gone on to become one of the leading bowlers in international cricket. In a virtual media interaction, Elgar acknowledged the Bumrah threat but said the whole Indian attack will be tough to face.

“He (Bumrah) is a world class bowler. If there is one bowler who can exploit South African conditions pretty well, it would be him. But again, we don’t focus on one guy. India as a whole is a pretty, pretty good side.

“They’ve been a pretty good side for the last two to three years and have toured very well of late,” said Elgar, who was the only one alongside Virat Kohli to average more than 40 in the 2018 series.

Elgar said senior bowler R Ashwin has not had too much success in South Africa but he remains one of the best spinners in world cricket.

South Africa had their training at the Wanderers till Tuesday while the Indians trained in Centurion.

“India has been an immensely improved bowling line up especially playing away from home as well. We’re very mindful of what we’re going to be up against.

“Being in South Africa I would like to think we’re a lot more accustomed to our home conditions. So I rather be sitting here knowing that than possibly sitting in Indian dressing room knowing that they have to face our bowlers.” South Africa have been dealt a big blow ahead of the series opener with Anrich Nortje being ruled out due to injury. Kagiso Rabada will lead the attack in the company of Duanne Oliver, who has returned to play for South Africa after the end of Kolpak deal in the UK, and Lungi Ngidi.

Elgar hopes the weather will clear up ahead of the first Test and expects pitches to have enough spice for the bowlers.

“There’s always a little bit of spice in South African wickets, especially in highveld region. I wouldn’t see too much change (from last series). If you apply yourself as a batter, if you nail down your skills and your disciplines, you can really score runs in Centurion.

“Again, with the ball in hand you can exploit the conditions if you got pace and bounce and if you got some skill and be a little patient from a bowling point of view,” he said when asked about the match up of both the pace attacks.

Talking about the inexperience in the batting line-up, he said: “Professional cricket is about taking your opportunities and making the position your own...if they don’t, there’ll be other guys knocking on the door.

“But it’s always going to be tough playing against the best side in the world. They’ve got a very good bowling lineup and we are aware of it.” On the return of Oliver, who had quit South Africa to play county cricket in the UK, said he has been received well by the players.

“There’s no bad feelings about what’s happened in the past. I want to win cricket matches and series for South Africa. I’m pretty sure I’ve got 100% backing when it comes to that.

“So, it’s nice to have him back. He’s learned a lot playing in the UK. And so he’s bringing a lot of knowledge and experience back into the change, which is something that we need at the moment.

“He is a match winner and if he can win cricket matches for us I’m all for having him back.” Elgar is also disappointed that the series will be played in front of empty stands with the rise in COVID-19 cases in South Africa following the emergence of Omicron variant. PTI BS PDS PDS

Johannesburg, Dec 21, 2021 (AFP) - South Africa captain Dean Elgar said on Tuesday that his players had turned a stream of “bad news” about the country’s cricket into an advantage by forming a strong bond within their dressing room.

The 34-year-old leads his Proteas team into the first Test against India on Sunday against a backdrop of administrative instability, accusations of racism and the loss of key strike bowler Anrich Nortje.

“We’ve kind of gotten used to some bad news around us, the last year, year-and-a-half,” Elgar told a press conference.

“As a players group, we adapt to it accordingly.

“It’s not ideal to have these headlines coming up, we just want to focus on our cricket, playing a really tough series against India.”

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Monday that director of cricket Graeme Smith and Proteas head coach Mark Boucher will face formal hearings into claims of racial discrimination.

CSA also said that the three-match series and the ODI series which follows will be played behind closed doors because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“What happens off the field is irrelevant now,” said Elgar who did not refer directly to the CSA announcement about Smith and Boucher.

“We’ve been through such bad times that we’ve formulated such a good bond within our group.

“Our culture has been tested and pushed to levels that I didn’t think it could be pushed to in my short term as captain.

“We’ve had so many different administrators, we don’t even know who’s there now.”

Elgar, however, who was appointed as full-time Test captain in March, offered a ringing endorsement of the coaching staff in general.

“We back our coaches, we back our management. They put in so much work that goes unnoticed. I know what they do behind the scenes.

“It’s not nice to see our coaches lambasted. We’re extremely grateful for the hard work they put in.”

Elgar twice described India as “the best team in the world” but said the South African team had put in three good days of preparation.

With the majority of the likely starting team having played little or no red-ball cricket this season, Elgar said the preparation had included match simulation, “which has been pretty productive.”

Elgar acknowleged that India had a much-improved fast bowling line-up but said he backed his own bowlers, even without Nortje who has been ruled out of the three-match series because of a hip injury, in home conditions.

“We know that it’s going to be tough but we know that it’s going to be tough for the Indian batters to face our bowlers.

“I’d rather be sitting here knowing that than sitting in the Indian dressing room knowing they have to face our fast bowlers.”

Elgar said he expected a “good cricket wicket” at Centurion which would enable batsmen to score runs if they applied themselves, while offering assistance to bowlers with pace and bounce.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 4:35:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/if-there-is-one-bowler-who-can-exploit-south-african-conditions-it-is-bumrah-elgar/article38006646.ece