How SA captain Dean Elgar sparked Kagiso Rabada in Wanderers Test win
Proteas captain Dean Elgar had a “tough love” chat with Kagiso Rabada during the second Test against India at the Wanderers that fired up SA's premier fast bowler to deliver a match-altering spell on day three.
Rabada, in the first session of day three on Wednesday, claimed the crucial wickets of Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant to change the course of the Test match in the Proteas’ favour.
SA went on to win the match by seven wickets on Thursday on day four to tie the three-match series 1-1, the Proteas also beating India for the first time at the Bullring.
Rabada is the leading wicket-taker in the series after two matches with 13 scalps and will be a key player in the final Test at Newlands next week, along with Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier and Keshav Maharaj.
Elgar, also crucial to the win with a captain’s unbeaten knock of 96 in SA's second innings on day four, revealed he had a motivational talk with Rabada on day two — and the effects were there to see the following day.
“I went to 'KG' [Rabada] and I told him you are an immensely respected cricketer within our group and at the moment I don’t think you are conducting yourself extremely well when it comes to performances,” Elgar said.
“We know and I know what KG is capable of doing because he is world-class bowler, and when KG has gets his tail up there is no better bowler than him in the world.
“I have experienced a few guys over the period I was part of this Proteas group but it was a good chat. I can have these chats with KG because he responds extremely well.
“He takes it away, processes it overnight and comes back the next day with a scenario.”
Elgar said Rabada sometimes needs pushing because the quick can have a tendency to be overly relaxed.
“He was the one who came to me and said, 'What we spoke about yesterday, you hit the nail on the head'.
“He admitted that he was underselling his value to the group, and I think sometimes he can be a bit too relaxed.
“He needs to understand that his performances on the field and in the change room are huge. I think it speaks volumes to what I can contribute in the change room.
“I wouldn’t say it wasn’t a rocket, I would say it was a tough love.”
SA coach Mark Boucher said in his television interviews after the match that Elgar's chat with Rabada provided a necessary spark.
“There was a bit of a spark in the dressing room that was needed. There were fair words that were said and I think KG has taken it on board,” Boucher said.
Elgar said India pushed the Proteas throughout a memorable Test.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet but first and foremost is a Test win for SA, and we fought long and hard for this kind of victory.
“The last four days really pushed us to different levels and different areas within our team and the guys responded brilliantly with regards to certain requests that I asked us to do.
“Sitting here it is great to know that we have accomplished a Test win.”
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