South Africa have no need to panic but their batsmen need to take more responsibility if they’re to fight their way into the series against India, reckons their captain Dean Elgar.
Speaking ahead of Monday’s start of the second Test at the Wanderers, Elgar mae it clear he wants to see improvement after his side were beaten by 113 runs in last week’s first Test in Pretoria.
“We don’t need to panic,” the South Africa skipper told a virtual news conference on Sunday, knowing that if they lose again they’ll concede a home series to India for the first time..
“I still think we’ve got a lot of capable players even if they are, in the main, quite inexperienced, but they also have to take the responsibility.
“One or two poor innings with the bat does not make them bad cricketers and backing them is an extremely important thing going forward in Test cricket. That’s how you build and grow your Test team.”
Elgar said there had been some “hard conversations” in the days following the first Test defeat where South Africa failed to get 200 runs in either innings.
“There were definite areas that we spoke about, looking to go back to the basic principles of batting and tightening up on our bowling.”
South Africa were also hit by the sudden retirement of wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock from Test cricket, which Elgar admitted had come as shock.
De Kock, 29, gave family reasons for his decision, made within minutes of the first Test defeat, but he’ll continue to play limited-overs cricket.
He was due to miss the second and third Test in any case because of the imminent birth of his first child.
“I was pretty shocked, I wasn’t aware this was going to happen. But sitting down with Quinny that evening and him explaining to me the reason for it, means I very much respect his decision,” Elgar said.
“It’s disappointing not having Quinny around and something we need to get over.”
Kyle Verreynne, 24, will replace de Kock as wicketkeeper for the remaining Tests but Elgar said no other changes had been decided.
Meanwhile, tall left-arm seamer Marco Jansen has received his first call-up to the South Africa one-day international squad for their three-match home series against India later this month.
The 21-year-old made his Test debut against the touring Indians at Centurion Park last week, where he impressed in the second innings.
He is a replacement for fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who remains sidelined with a hip injury.
De Kock will be available for the ODI series while allrounder Dwaine Pretorius earns a recall.
The series starts in Paarl on January 19, with a second match at the same venue and the third game in Cape Town on January 23.
Squad: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.