JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – New South Africa captain Dean Elgar says his “frustrated” side are fired-up to perform on their two-match tour of the West Indies after being starved of test cricket for much of the past year.
South Africa have played only four tests in the last 16 months, largely due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the same period, rivals England, India and West Indies have contested 12, 10 and 9 tests respectively.
“It’s been such an up and down time for all of us, as players we have been frustrated by having limited access to international cricket. We are excited and keen to get going,” Elgar told reporters on Saturday.
The opening batsman is hoping to usher in a new era of success for a side that has slipped to number seven in the ICC test rankings, their joint lowest position ever, which he admits is “not a good look” for cricket in a country that has topped the standings a few times over the past decade.
“We need to play more cricket and better cricket, we are very conscious that over the last period we haven’t been consistent. Our skill level hasn’t been where it should be,” Elgar said.
“We want to compete and play in a final of a test championship, but I understand that there is a process that you have to follow. It is a challenging aspect to get players to believe in the process and adapt quickly.
“We must start to climb the rankings again. Where we are at the moment is not doing us a lot of favours and is not a good look for a lot of us.”
South Africa will move above West Indies into sixth with a series win. Both matches are being played in St Lucia, with the first test from June 10-14.
(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)