South Africa news March 6, 2014

Elgar gets CSA contract in Smith's place


Dean Elgar has been awarded a national contract, in place of the retired Test captain Graeme Smith. The list remains at 17 players, with seven signed on for two years and the remaining 10 on one-year deals. CSA also announced 12 players who received high performance contract, which includes Kyle Abbott, who played in the Newlands Test, and Under-19 World Cup winner Kagiso Rabada.  

Elgar lost his contract when the most recent list was announced two days before the second Test against Australia in Port Elizabeth. On the same day, Elgar was informed he was going to play in that match, because South Africa were returning to a seven specialist batsmen strategy.

Illness to regular opener Alviro Petersen the night before the game meant Elgar would also bat in his preferred position at the top of the order rather than at No. 6. He survived Mitchell Johnson and scored a gutsy 83, helping South Afrcia set up a match-winning first-innings total. With his part-time left-arm spin, Elgar also took the wicket that gave South Africa victory when he trapped Nathan Lyon lbw and it was given out despite the edge. 

His performance in that match meant Elgar could not be dropped for the deciding Test at Newlands even though Petersen had recovered from his upset stomach. To accommodate both Petersen and Elgar, South Africa shuffled their batting order and allowed Elgar to bat at No. 3 and Hashim Amla at No. 4. 

Given South Africa's showing, it is too early to say whether it was a good tactical decision and it may not even be necessary to do so. With Smith's retirement, Elgar has been tipped to move back into the opening berth, where he will partner Petersen, thus replacing Smith in more ways than one. 

"Dean is the obvious replacement and must be excited by the opportunity to emulate the greatness achieved by his recently retired national captain," Haroon Lorgat, CSA CEO said. "He has all the attributes and qualifies as the next player eligible to be awarded a contract." 

In addition to identifying Elgar as part of the succession plans, CSA has also earmarked a dozen franchise players. Among them are three spinners, Simon Harmer, Eddie Leie and Aaron Phangiso and four other top-order batsmen. Rilee Rossouw, Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma and Stiaan van Zyl have all been suggested as replacements for the likes of Smith and Jacques Kallis in the long term and this is a nod to that theory. 

"This is investment in our future," Andrew Hudson, CSA's convener of selectors said. "Close monitoring of these exciting young players so that we can provide the best chance of developing their careers to the full potential."

Players on two-year contracts: AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn

Players on one-year contracts: Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

High Performance contracts: Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Eddie Leie, Mangaliso Mosehle, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Stiaan van Zyl, Khaya Zondo

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on March 8, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    overrated! crap technique

  • Jay on March 7, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    Dean Elgar reminds me a lot of Andrew Hudson, the former SA opener during the 90s. Albeit, Hudson was a right hander. Elgar's style of play is exactly like Hudson's in the way he strikes the ball with crisp, free flowing drives and a good back foot technique. SA need to stick with him for overseas tours as well, especially in Asia to see if his technique against spin is good enough. SA don't have much choice really. Their other opener is Alviro Petersen who is an average player at best. Elgar is the best option right now and should be persisted with.

  • Rob on March 7, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    Injury aside, am surprised Chris Morris not part of the HPR squad. But Mosehle, - can someone please explain....

  • Harjinder on March 7, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    Wah ... it is a great news ...carry on Elgaar ! We know you are a talented player .prove it under new leadership ....good luck !God help you ,bless you !

  • Android on March 6, 2014, 17:20 GMT

    @creebo777 I agree with you, I see Elgar and Van Zyl as the future opening pair for the Proteas

  • Vaughan on March 6, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    Mosehle???? What on EARTH has he done to deserve a contract? Zondo?? Oh wait.. .there appears to be a common denominator here.....

    Abbott, Rossouw, Van Zyl, Harmer, Hendricks x2, Bavuma are good picks to take us forward.

    Pity no investment in Hardus Viljoen (But I do understand why not) - genuine pace is a decent commodity to have

  • greig on March 6, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    OUT: Morkel, Petersen IN: Rillee Roussouw, B.Hendricks.

    I am totally over Morne Morkel, couldn't care less if he bowls fast, still too inconsistent and he is 30 yrs old now - how much longer do we have to wait for him to put the ball in the right place.?? Alviro is too old and his average is sub-par - another inconsistent performer in this team.

  • Binisa on March 6, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    Aiden Markram deserves to get a contract and handover a test cap to him so that we can mould younger players like him and Rabada, Corbi Bosch. Scrap the contract from Tahir, Alviro and Kleinveldt. There are far more better players than them in the domestic circuit.

  • creebo on March 6, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    If you gona replace morne morkel,marchant de lange should be his replacement,stiaan van zyl among the runs again for cape cobras

  • Francois on March 6, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    What about Yaseen Valli, Markram, Fortuin Bosch for High Performance contracts. Why Mangaliso???

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