South African Test captain Dean Elgar said on Monday he was “comfortable” with the decision of key players to make themselves unavailable for a Test series against Bangladesh, which starts at Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.
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Earlier this month Elgar called for players contracted to the Indian Premier League to put country ahead of club.
But all South Africa’s IPL-linked players opted to play in the lucrative Indian franchise tournament, which started at the weekend.
“A lot has happened since my last interview around this topic,” Elgar told a pre-series press conference in Durban.
“I’ve had really good, detailed chats with those players to find out where they are mentally with regard to playing in the Tests or in the IPL.”
South Africa will go into the Bangladesh series without their front-line fast bowling attack of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen, as well as the injured Anrich Nortje.
They will also be without batsmen Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen.
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Elgar said he was restricted in what he could say about the issue, but suggested the IPL players had to make a difficult choice after being told by Cricket South Africa that they could choose which way to go.
“I do know that the players were put in a bit of a situation with regards to making a decision on their availability,” he said.
Cricket South Africa has an agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India whereby it makes its players available for the IPL.
Time to move on – Dean Elgar
Elgar said it was time to move on.
“They’re not here with us and we have to make do with our next best in the country, which I’m still very confident with.
“We’ve lost a few Test caps but it’s a great opportunity for those guys to stand up and put those other players under pressure.”
Elgar said that although he was not involved in South Africa’s one-day series defeat against Bangladesh, he shared the hurt felt by the local players which he said would make them hungry to turn the tables in the Test matches.
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“We know this is not the Bangladesh side of old,” he said.
“It’s a new team with a westernised coaching staff who have obviously changed their mindset with regards to how to play cricket in South Africa.
“The contest is going to be a good one,” said Elgar.
By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse