Diamond dealer Elgar's actions louder than words
Dean Elgar deals in diamonds‚ the harder the better.
The hardest of them all are bought and sold by those who open the batting in Test cricket‚ and in South Africa in particular.
Words? Words are for wimps‚ especially the kind of words that have been slung back and forth about the pitches we see in Mzansi. They are words like challenging‚ unfair and dangerous.
That’s not to say Elgar hasn’t had his say on the subject. And on many others: he first walked into South Africa’s dressingroom in 2012 and by all accounts no-one has been able to shut him up.
So much so that Faf du Plessis used Elgar’s yappiness against him to answer a question about Zubayr Hamza’s chances of earning his first cap in the second Test against Pakistan at Newlands: “Someone breaks a finger or Dean complains about his elbow again and he’s in the team …”
No-one has broken a finger in this series‚ which is a testament to the steady evolution in the quality of batting gloves.
But Elgar dealt another diamond into the conversation on Sunday after South Africa had scored a smidgen more than half the 41 runs they needed to win‚ and clinch the series‚ less than an hour into the fourth day.
Mohammad Amir unleashed to Hashim Amla‚ who put a biceps in the way of a spitefully steepling screamer.
Amla thought better of soldiering on in pursuit of so gettable a goal and retired hurt.
That brought Faf du Plessis to the crease‚ who will be frustrated and disappointed at‚ after the match‚ having been suspended for a Test as punishment for a second over-rate infringement within 12 months.
But he won’t be unhappy about not having to wonder what kind of surface awaits in the third Test at the Wanderers — where play was suspended during last season’s match against India after Elgar was hit on the grille of his helmet.
Back to Sunday’s reality.
By the time Amla exited Elgar had had to deal with five short balls out of the dozen deliveries he had faced‚ and seen Theunis de Bruyn flap and fall to another bouncer.
So‚ as Amla prepared to saunter off‚ Elgar borrowed and added the former’s armguard to his protective ensemble.
It was a small gesture rich in the diamond-hard reality of the moment: only one of us could get out of here alive‚ ‘Hash’‚ and seeing as you’re on your way it’s not you. So‚ please‚ gimme that …
In the next over Elgar survived a referral for caught behind having had to remove himself from the path of another lifter‚ and the over after that he gloved a bouncer that narrowly evaded the wicketkeeper’s gloves and flew away for four.
So it must have been satisfying for Welkom’s finest when he was able to end the match with consecutive proper boundaries: the first hammered straight‚ the second through fine leg.
At that‚ Elgar sent a primal yawp into Table Mountain’s lower reaches.
Was it the sound of someone relieved at getting the bloody job done rather than a celebration?
Who can say. But whatever it was it wasn’t a word. Those are for wimps. Not for Elgar‚ the diamond dealer.