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'He Will Be...’ Temba Bavuma on Dean Elgar’s Retirement Ahead of the Centurion Test

image-lqjuwbfsElgar set to play his last series in national colours (AP)

Even before the series commenced, South Africa's star opener, Dean Elgar, made it public that the upcoming two-match Test series vs India would mark the conclusion of his illustrious international cricket career. Following this announcement, Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma wants his teammates to provide a fitting farewell to the one of the grittiest cricketers ever to play the sport.

Elgar's retirement will be appropriately capped off with the two Test matches: the first to be held at his home ground, SuperSport Park in Centurion, from December 26 to 30, and the second at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, the venue where he scored his first Test runs, from January 3 to 7.

Bavuma, who has been on the sidelines since South Africa's loss in the Cricket World Cup semi-final to Australia in Kolkata last month, underlined that delivering strong performances for the team's senior statesman could add an extra layer of excitement to the series. The Proteas skipper lauded Elgar, acknowledging the left-handed batter's integral role within the team over the years.

"Dean will be celebrated as much as we can within our team. We hope that he’s celebrated accordingly by South African cricket and the public. He’s been an integral part of this team over the years. For us as players, we’d like to make the series a special send-off for him,"  Temba Bavuma said.

Addressing his own form, Bavuma, who had a dismal 2023 World Cup with the bat, stressed the importance of continuing with the positive aspect of being mentally fresh. Despite missing out on red-ball cricket and a scheduled four-day game, he emphasized the significance of mental freshness.

"Being mentally fresh is always a big positive. I didn’t get any red ball cricket under my belt. I missed out on the four-day game I was supposed to play last week. Mentally, I’m as fresh as ever,"  added Bavuma.

With a cricket career spanning 12 years, the 36-year-old Elgar has represented South Africa in 84 Tests and eight One-Day Internationals. Since his Test debut against Australia in 2012, he has amassed over 5000 runs at an average of 37.28, including 13 centuries and a career-best 199 against Bangladesh in 2017. 

In encounters against India, Elgar has played 13 Tests, accumulating 811 runs in 25 innings at an average of 36.86, featuring one century and four half-centuries. As he approaches the twilight of his career, Elgar will aim to conclude it on a high note by contributing significantly with the bat in the upcoming series and, ideally, securing a series victory.