South African cricket is a puzzle that even the Riddler would second guess himself to solve.
When one feels there is nothing more that can surprise the ardent faithful, he is met with another expression of ‘Riddle this!’
Well, the latest puzzle is the axing of Dean Elgar as the Proteas Test Captain and the appointment of Temba Bavuma as their long format honcho.
Ask their new Test Coach, Shukri Conrad and he says, he haschosen Bavuma because of the strength of their relationship and not because Elgar had underperformed in the role.
Bavuma and Conrad’s relationship soared when they workedtogether in the recent ODI thumping of England to march towards sealing a place for the next ODI World Cup in India later this year.
Having said this, the repercussion of this relationship in my head has certainly unfaired Dean Elgar who has done a fairly decent job as the leader of the South African test team with one of the big feathers in his cap being the series victory over India at the beginning of last year.
Under his captaincy South Africa have won nine matches and lost seven which certainly is a healthy win loss ratio. Perhaps, the drubbing the Proteas were given against England and then Australia in the not-so-distant past could have been the reason for this change in the leadership mantle.
With this being said, I still feel Dean should have been given a longer rope to express his capability as the captain, especially with Conrad now taking the coaching reigns. The two could surely have developed a bond with keeping a certain level of certainty in the team from the captaincy standpoint since the coaching reigns had changed.
Perhaps, this was wishful thinking on my part!
With the change of captaincy now water under the bridge, Bavuma should definitely feel confident thanks to his own form soaring and the more than capable talent of Aiden Markram and Keegan Petersen making a comeback to the test team.
Temba’s first assignment as the red ball captain will be against the Men from the Caribbean islands in a two-match inbound tour.
One would certainly hope Dean as the batter will complement his captain to take South Africa to heights of formidabilityand not wallow in the puzzle of desolation.
Perhaps, that’s the reason Elgar has always been referred to as the consummate team man whether he is the captain or not.