On day three of the third Test in Cape Town, Elgar reviewed a lbw decision off Ravichandran Ashwin on the fourth delivery of the 21st over in South Africa’s chase of 212.
Umpire Marais Erasmus had adjudged Elgar lbw on a delivery which came in and hit him in front of the middle stump on the knee roll. The ball-tracking technology showed that the ball would go over the stumps, thereby overturning the original decision.
It resulted in anger expressed by the Indian team through stump mics. Though Elgar was dismissed at stumps by Jasprit Bumrah, South Africa were needing just 111 runs to win on day four, which they knocked off with seven wickets in hand on Friday.
“Loved it. It was obviously a team that was a little bit under pressure. Things weren’t going their way, which they are obviously quite used to of late. But in Test match cricket, it was pressure I think which gave us a little bit of window period, especially yesterday (Thursday) to score a little bit freer and chip away at the target we needed. It worked out well in our hands and played nicely into our hands.
“For a period of time, they actually forgot about the game and were channelling a bit more of their emotional side of what Test cricket has to offer. Extremely happy that it happened that way,” said Elgar in post-match virtual conference.
After losing the first Test at Centurion by 113 runs, South Africa came back from behind to deny a formidable Indian side from winning the series. Elgar had said after the seven-wicket win at Johannesburg that he had a chat to fire up Kagiso Rabada, which was enough to get the pace spearhead at his best.
Asked about the nature of the chats, Elgar refused to go into the details.
“I am not going to reveal anything because what happens in the team, stays in the team. Basically, after losing the first Test, we knew the guys will have to stand up from a character point of view. We had to make the guys a bit more of conscious effort and be a lot more aware of what position they have within the side, purely to bring the best out of that player. Ultimately, bringing the best out of the player will influence the environment.
“I am glad, very, very relieved and thankful to all the guys for responding the way they did. This was a proper squad effort and by no means, can’t pinpoint the guys. Sure, a few individuals did exceptional things in the series.
“Going forward, it has always been a squad effort. Even to the guys who didn’t play, they stood up in the right occasions for us. Those chats will stay behind the closed doors for us.”
Speaking about the nature of chats with players like Rabada and others in the team, Elgar explained, “You got to have a mutual respect within the squad, with every individual player. That’s a two-way street which enables you to have the conversations we had in the last two weeks. The players needed to take them on board and need to understand I am not there to manipulate them or do injustice to their careers as I need them to be operating at a level which is respectable at the level of Test cricket.
“If you want to be the best, you need to operate at a level like we have done in the last few weeks. But you need to be pretty consistent around that. I think I have a pretty good relationship with everyone in the team, be it the oldest or youngest player in the team.
“I would like to think I connect with them in a pretty good way, a special way where the guys think that Dean’s doing this for the right reasons. It comes into the buying process, where the guys have to give in to the message that I speak of and echo throughout the changing room. It all boils down to respect, you need to respect each other irrespective of age and how long you have been playing the game.
“We all play for one cause, that is to win the game and another cause, which is playing for the country. We all are influenced in our own respective ways bearing in mind that the team’s way is the only way going forward. It sounds a little bit harsh but if you want to be the best, you need to have that skill which you need to have and the guys have started to develop as this process of our journey has continued. I like to think I am not offending anyone by the language I use, the words I speak just to know that I need to motivate and influence this group.”
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