Proteas skipper Dean Elgar faces the prospect of losing his key fast bowlers for the Bangladesh series.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) may be a player’s money-making dream, but it’s proving to be Proteas skipper Dean Elgar’s worst nightmare.
The tournament starts on 26 March, meaning that it will encroach on South Africa’s two-Test series against Bangladesh that starts on 31 March in Durban.
Elgar’s prime fast bowlers in Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje has been roped in by various franchises.
When fit, Ngidi played a superb supporting role while Nortje missed the summer through injury.
While understanding the need for players to be in India to maximize on their talents, Elgar faces the prospect of a crucial World Test Championship series without his key bowlers, something that doesn’t sit well with him.
Fresh from the 1-1 draw against New Zealand, Elgar said conversations over player availability for the series are already taking place.
“The outcome of that meeting was that the players need to give Cricket South Africa an indication of their keenness to go to the IPL or if they want to play for the Test side,” Elgar said.
“It’s a tough one putting that in the player’s box, but I guess this is where you see where the loyalty of the players lie.
“They mustn’t forget that it is Test and ODI cricket that catapulted them into the IPL spotlight, not the other way round.
“That’s all that I could prepare knowing that most of my bowlers are potentially not going to be there for the Bangladesh series if they choose the IPL route.
“Hopefully, things will be clearer by next week.”
With Bangladesh demonstrating that they can win away from home after duffing New Zealand at the start of the year, Elgar doesn’t want to take any chances.
With the Tests being played at Kingsmead and St George’s Park, grounds that have been friendly to Asian sides recently, Elgar has every reason to be concerned.
When South Africa conceded their first series against an Asian team when they lost to Sri Lanka in 2019, they were beaten in Durban and Gqeberha.
South Africa hasn’t played Pakistan in Durban since 2002 and Gqeberha since 2007. India last played in Durban in 2013 while their last Test in Gqeberha was in 2001.
The prospect of not having the bulk of his side is something that’s not sitting well with Elgar.
“If I don’t have everyone at my disposal, it’s going to be a tough one for me,” Elgar said.
“I can’t take the field without my best side. I need my best side in order to give ourselves the best opportunity against Bangladesh.
“By no means will we be disrespectful towards them because, on a given day, they can win and cause a few headaches. We saw that against New Zealand.
“I need my best players and if they’re not available, it’s something we need to sit down and get through.”