Things have not been the same in South Africa cricket ever since allegations of racist conduct have come to light. Few prominent players like Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, and Mark Boucher’s names have been dragged into the SJN hearings. The off-field issues have taken sheen away from South Africa’s upcoming three-match Test series against India.
However, skipper Dean Elgar says he will not let those issues distract him. Elgar said his team is focussed on doing well against India. “What happens off the field for me is irrelevant now,” Elgar told reporters on Tuesday, according to Dawn. “As a playing unit, we have been through such crappy times [amid the COVID-19 pandemic] that we have formulated such a good bond within our group.”
There have been wholesale changes in South African cricket in the past year or so. Few coaches, support staff, and administrators have left. Elgar admits he didn’t think off-field issues could get messier under his short term as captain. “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.
The South Africa skipper said the off-field issues have grabbed the headlines at the worst possible time, ahead of such an important series against India. The southpaw though admitted these controversies will not distract the team as they are focussed on doing well against India.
“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.
“We must be mindful that if things are bad off the field, we can’t use that as a cop-out for us. We are a professional team and professional players.”
The hosts won’t have Anrich Nortje for the series as he has been ruled out due to a hip injury. However, Elgar backed the other bowlers to come good and give Indian batters a tough time. “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.”