Dean Elgar was back at the crease for Surrey at the Oval on Wednesday‚ looking for the form he left in England three months ago.
Elgar made 87‚ 90 and 51 in consecutive one-day innings‚ which followed the 61 he scored in his last first-class match for them‚ to end his first stint with the county in style.
But those runs evaporated in Sri Lanka’s heat and dust last month‚ when he scored 59 runs in four innings in the Test series.
Now Elgar has replaced Aaron Finch‚ who has returned to Australia‚ as Surrey’s overseas player.
So far‚ not so good. The South African batted at No.3 against Nottinghamshire on Wednesday and was trapped in front for eight. He faced 24 balls.
Elgar‚ who will stay in England until the end of the season‚ which is scheduled for September 27‚ would do well to follow his own advice‚ which he dispensed in a video interview with former Surrey and England batsman Mark Butcher that was posted on Surrey’s Twitter account.
“If you wait for the ball you’ll be able to manipulate it more or less where you want it to go‚” Elgar said as he hit balls in the nets‚ purposefully using minimal footwork.
“It allows you to leave if the length’s not there or the line’s not there for your. It’s important for allowing the ball to come to you.
“I’ve been doing that ever since I started playing professional cricket.”
Had Surrey played the fixture that started on Wednesday later in the campaign Elgar might have come face to face with Keshav Maharaj‚ who has been signed by Notts for their last four championship matches.
Other South Africans available for national selection don’t feature prominently in the county statistics.
They are led by Derbyshire’s Duanne Olivier‚ who is joint-12th among the wicket-takers in the second division with 31 scalps in seven matches.
Dane Vilas‚ who played six Tests and a T20 for South Africa before signing a Kolpak deal‚ has scored two centuries and a half-century for Lancashire and is ninth on the list of run-scorers in the first division.
Elgar’s Surrey teammate‚ Morné Morkel‚ who retired from international cricket last season‚ took 33 sticks in six games before Wednesday and was joint sixth among first-division bowlers.
Durban-born Wayne Madsen and Colin Ackermann‚ who hails from George are the top run-scorers in the second division.
Neither are able to play for South Africa.