Dean Elgar Set to Bid Farewell to Test Cricket in Cape Town – His Favorite Stadium
Ex-captain of South Africa wishes to end his Test career in Cape Town, which he considers the “best stadium in the world.”
Dean Elgar, who used to be South Africa’s Test captain and a strong opening batsman, is set to participate in his final international series against India this summer. The 36-year-old Elgar revealed his choice to depart from international cricket after the New Year’s match, set to begin on January 3 in Cape Town.
If Elgar is included in the playing lineup for both Tests against India, he will complete 86 Tests in a career that has lasted 12 years. He said, “Playing the game of cricket has always been a dream of mine, but having the opportunity to represent your country is the ultimate! Having had the privilege to do it for 12 years internationally is simply beyond my wildest dreams. It has been an incredible journey that I have been fortunate enough to have.”
“The upcoming Cape Town Test will mark my farewell. It’s my favorite stadium globally, where I scored my first Test run against New Zealand, and hopefully, it will be where I end my Test journey too.”
Elgar is South Africa’s eighth-highest run-scorer in Test cricket with a total of 5146 runs. Only eight players have surpassed the 5,000-run mark in this category, and he is 352 runs behind Mark Boucher, who currently ranks seventh on the list.
Elgar’s decision means he won’t be part of South Africa’s two-Test series in New Zealand. The team will have to put together a makeshift side because many key players will be participating in the SA20 league. Elgar doesn’t have an SA20 deal, and he would have been the most experienced player in the squad, possibly even asked to captain in Temba Bavuma’s absence. Instead, it’s expected that Titans’ batter Neil Brand will lead South Africa and team up with Tony de Zorzi at the top of the batting order. Brand and de Zorzi recently opened the batting together for South Africa A in a three-match series against West Indies A.
When asked ten days ago about Elgar potentially retiring from international cricket, CSA Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe informed ESPNcricinfo that “nothing has come to my table.” However, he mentioned plans to meet with players and their agents “over the next couple of weeks.” In the meantime, Nkwe has engaged in several discussions and acknowledged Elgar’s contributions and efforts over the years.
“Dean Elgar embodies a unique style of cricketer in an era focused on innovation and power-hitting. He’s a true old-school player who can endure, absorb, and battle it out. I’m certain the game will greatly miss him,” expressed Nkwe. “He consistently gave his all for his country, displaying fearlessness against any opposition. Whether leading as captain in crucial times, he was always ready to tackle challenges head-on.”
Elgar entered the international cricket scene during South Africa’s tour of Australia in 2012, a time when they held the No. 1 world ranking. Although he became the 38th player to face a pair in his debut match (the list now stands at 45), he bounced back with a century in his third game. Throughout his career, he notched up 13 centuries, playing against all Test teams except Pakistan or Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka became his favorite opponent, with a notable match-winning hundred in Galle in 2014, followed by two more centuries in 2017 and 2021.
Elgar took on the role of captain during Faf du Plessis’ paternity leave for the first Test of South Africa’s 2017 tour of England and later for two Tests against Pakistan in 2019. However, in mid-2021, he was officially appointed as the permanent captain of South Africa’s Test side. Under his leadership, South Africa secured series victories against the West Indies, and India at home, and a drawn series against New Zealand in early 2022, putting them at the top of the World Test Championship (WTC) table at that time. Unfortunately, away defeats to England and Australia in 2022-23 resulted in South Africa missing out on the WTC final earlier this year. Elgar stepped down as captain during a coaching staff reshuffle in February but continued to contribute as a player under the captaincy of Temba Bavuma.
Elgar was reportedly displeased with the choice to step down as captain but ultimately agreed to a new central contract in late March. Given that South Africa is scheduled to play only two Test series in the 2023-2025 World Test Championship (WTC) cycle, Elgar believed that the limited schedule would restrict his Test career. Sources have confirmed that he wanted to conclude his Test journey on a positive note, particularly by finishing his career at home.