Dean Elgar

Dean Elgar

Player Bio

Born in Welkom, Orange Free State on June 11, 1987, Dean Elgar is a name that resonates with resilience and determination in the world of cricket. A left-handed batsman, Elgar's style of play can be likened to cricketing legends such as Kepler Wessels, Gary Kirsten, and Graeme Smith. His role in the South African cricket team has been pivotal, especially during times when the team underwent significant changes both on and off the field.

Early Life and Entry into Cricket

Elgar's journey into the realm of professional cricket began in the domestic circuits, playing for teams like Eagles, Free State, Gloucestershire 2nd XI, Nottinghamshire 2nd XI, Somerset, South Africa A, South Africa Under-19s, Surrey, and Titans. His prowess was evident in the first-class cricket scene between 2010 and 2011, where he averaged close to 60.

However, the transition to international cricket was not smooth for Elgar. He made his Test debut for South Africa in Perth in November 2012, where he started in the middle order. Unfortunately, he began his international career with a pair. But, showcasing his mettle, Elgar bounced back just two Tests later, scoring an unbeaten 103 against New Zealand in Port Elizabeth.

Recognising his potential as an opener, he was soon paired with the legendary Graeme Smith at the top of the order. This move proved fruitful for the South African team. Elgar displayed immense grit and determination, often taking on the challenges head-on, be it the physical blows from fast bowlers or the verbal volleys from opponents. He became the mainstay of the South African opening lineup, especially after the retirement of Smith.

One of his notable achievements as an opener was his century in Galle in 2014. This was the first century by a South African opener in Sri Lanka. Elgar's ability to concentrate and overcome his initial vulnerability against spin was commendable. Between 2016 to 2021, he emerged as the leading run-scorer among openers in Tests, amassing over 3000 runs at an impressive average of 41. This period saw him play some memorable innings, including a 199 against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom, an unbeaten century against Australia in Cape Town, and a fierce 160 against India in Visakhapatnam, where he took on the formidable spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

In March 2021, amidst racial tensions and a dip in team rankings, Elgar was handed the responsibility of leading the South African Test team. He succeeded Quinton de Kock, who had a brief stint as captain following Faf du Plessis. Under Elgar's leadership, the team witnessed a resurgence, securing series wins against the West Indies and India, and managing a draw against New Zealand.

Rise in the International Arena

Dean Elgar's ascent in international cricket is a tale of perseverance, grit, and unwavering determination. In early 2012, Elgar was chosen for the Sri Lankan ODI series after establishing himself in the domestic circuits.However, an injury forced him to withdraw. He eventually made his ODI debut later that year against England. Although his first match was rain-abandoned, he showcased his potential in the subsequent game, scoring 15 runs and taking an incredible catch of Jonathan Trott, further cementing his place in the team.

His Test debut came against Australia in November 2012. Despite facing the disappointment of scoring a pair of ducks on debut, Elgar's resilience shone through. By January 2013, he had scored his maiden Test century against New Zealand. The retirement of the legendary Graeme Smith opened the doors for Elgar to solidify his position at the top of the order in Test cricket. He seized this opportunity with both hands, scoring 103 against Sri Lanka in July 2014 and following it up with 121 against the West Indies at St George's Oval, a ground that witnessed many of his memorable innings.

Key Achievements and Milestones

Elgar's journey in international cricket is adorned with numerous milestones:

Record Opener: Elgar accomplished a historic feat on December 28, 2015, as he became the first South African opener since Gary Kirsten in 1997 to carry his bat in a Test innings. His unbeaten 118 against England was a testament to his tenacity. His prowess as an opener was further highlighted when he scored 127 during the first Test against Australia in Perth in November 2016. The partnership of 250 runs with JP Duminy during this match was recorded as South Africa's highest partnership in Perth.

Carrying the Bat: Elgar has the distinction of carrying his bat through an innings on three occasions in Test cricket history, equalling the record with Desmond Haynes of West Indies. Notably, he became the only batsman to achieve this feat twice in a single calendar year in March 2018.

Captaincy: Elgar's leadership qualities were recognised early on. He stood in as captain for Faf du Plessis during the England series in 2017 and later during the Pakistan series in 2019. In March 2021, he was officially appointed as South Africa's Test captain. Under his leadership, South Africa secured series wins against formidable teams, marking a new era in South African cricket.

Milestone Centuries: Elgar has scored 13 Test centuries, with his highest score being 199 against Bangladesh in September 2018. Some of his other notable centuries include 140 against New Zealand in March 2017, 136 against England in July 2017, and 160 against India in October 2019.

Leading from the Front: As captain, Elgar led South Africa to a series victory against the West Indies in June 2021, marking a 2–0 win in his debut series as captain. His leadership was further exemplified in January 2022 when he scored an unbeaten 96 against India, guiding South Africa to a series-levelling victory.

Statistical Overview of His Career

Dean Elgar's cricketing journey is not just about his resilience and leadership but also about his consistent performances that have been backed by impressive statistics.

Test Cricket: Elgar has played 84 Test matches, amassing a commendable 5,146 runs. With an average of 37.28, he has scored 13 centuries and 23 half-centuries. His highest score in Test cricket is a near double-century, 199. Apart from his batting prowess, Elgar has also contributed with the ball, taking 15 wickets with his slow left-arm orthodox bowling. His best bowling figures in an innings are 4/22.

One Day Internationals (ODIs): In the 50-over format, Elgar has represented South Africa in 8 matches, scoring 128 runs with a top score of 42. His ODI batting averagestands at 17.33. As a bowler, he has claimed 2 wickets in this format.

First-Class Cricket: Elgar's first-class career is even more illustrious. In 239 matches, he has scored a staggering 16,053 runs with an impressive average of 41.26. He has 45 centuries and 68 half-centuries to his name in first-class cricket, with a top score of 268.

List A Cricket: In the List A format, Elgar has played 172 matches, accumulating 5,940 runs. He boasts an average of 42.42 with 7 centuries and 45 fifties. His highest score in this format is 137.

Elgar's statistics not only highlight his consistency across formats but also underline his importance in the South African cricket setup. His ability to adapt and perform, be it in the longer format or the limited-overs, showcases his versatility as a cricketer.

Memorable Moments and Notable Facts

Under-19 Leadership: Before making a mark in international cricket, Elgar showcased his leadership skills by captaining the South African side in the 2006 Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in Sri Lanka.

Carrying the Bat: One of the most challenging feats for an opener is to carry the bat through an innings. Elgar achieved this not once but thrice in Test cricket, equalling the record with the legendary Desmond Haynes. His ability to remain unbeaten in challenging conditions speaks volumes about his temperament.

Stellar Partnership: During the first Test against Australia in Perth in 2016, Elgar stitched a 250-run partnership with JP Duminy. This partnership is recorded as South Africa's highest in Perth and their second-highest against Australia.

Captaincy Debut: Elgar's leadership was put to the test when he was named the captain of the South African Test team in March 2021. Under his captaincy, South Africa secured a series win against the West Indies, marking a 2-0 victory in his debut series as captain.

Resilience Against India: In January 2022, during a crucial series against India, Elgar played a captain's knock, scoring an unbeaten 96 to guide South Africa to a series-levelling victory.

Domestic Stalwart: Apart from his international achievements, Elgar has been a stalwart in domestic cricket. He has represented teams like Free State, Knights, Somerset, Titans, Surrey, and Tshwane Spartans, making significant contributions to their successes.

Unique Record: On 23 March 2018, Elgar achieved a unique record of carrying his bat in an innings of a test match twice in a single calendar year, showcasing his consistency and ability to anchor the innings.

Standing Tall in Adversity: Elgar's ability to stand tall in adversity was evident when he faced 200 or more balls in both innings of a Test against New Zealand in March 2017, becoming the first South African opener to achieve this feat.

Legacy and Impact on Cricket

Dean Elgar's legacy in the world of cricket is multifaceted. As a player, he epitomises resilience, determination, and the ability to rise from setbacks. His journey from a domestic player to captaining the national side is a testament to his unwavering commitment to the sport.

Elgar's impact on South African cricket is profound. At a time when the team was undergoing transitions, both in terms of players and leadership, Elgar stood as a pillar of strength. His captaincy brought stability and a renewed sense of purpose to the team. Under his leadership, South Africa witnessed series victories against formidable opponents, marking a resurgence in their cricketing prowess.

Beyond the numbers and statistics, Elgar's true legacy lies in his character. He has been a role model for young cricketers, exemplifying that success is not just about talent but also about hard work, dedication, and the ability to face challenges head-on. His grit and determination on the field, coupled with his calm and composed leadership, have set a benchmark for future generations.

Dean Elgar's journey in the world of cricket is nothing short of inspirational. From his early days in domestic cricket to leading the national side, Elgar's story is a testament to his passion, dedication, and love for the game. His legacy is not just about the runs he scored or the matches he won but about the impact he had on the game and the generations of cricketers he inspired. As we look back at his illustrious career, one thing is certain: Dean Elgar will always be remembered as one of the stalwarts of South African cricket.

When did Dean Elgar make his Test debut for South Africa?
Elgar made his Test debut for South Africa against Australia in November 2012.
How many times has Dean Elgar carried his bat through a Test innings?
Elgar has carried his bat through a Test innings on three occasions.
Which teams did Dean Elgar represent in domestic cricket?
Elgar represented teams like Free State, Knights, Somerset, Titans, Surrey, and Tshwane Spartans in domestic cricket.
When was Dean Elgar appointed as the captain of the South African Test team?
Elgar was officially appointed as South Africa's Test captain in March 2021.
How many Test centuries has Dean Elgar scored?
As of March 2023, Dean Elgar has scored 13 Test centuries.