Dean Elgar says the three-match Test series in England is a “massive” one for the Proteas.
South Africa have not lost a series since Elgar took over the Test captaincy, with home series wins over India and Bangladesh and a drawn series in New Zealand taking them to the top of the World Test Championship.
Next up is a series against a rejuvenated England team – under coach Brendon McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes – who whitewashed New Zealand and beat India by playing “fearless” cricket.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Elgar said the Proteas were in England to win.
“I don’t play to lose. I absolutely despise losing,” he said. “And if we play an average brand [of cricket], or we’re not putting our best foot forward and we don’t have results going our way, then that affects me quite a bit.
“This is a massive series for all of us. I think we’ve got 17 players and it’s massive for all 17 of us to go out there, play a brand of cricket that appeals to South Africans and ultimately gives us the best chance of winning in England. We’ve seen it happen in the past before, so we know it can be done.
“We played against the best in the world last year [India, then ranked No 1], and I think we did things that we didn’t quite expect to do at that time. So, the standard that we’ve set and the bar that we’ve raised since last year has happened pretty naturally just out of us doing good things on the field again.
“It’s gonna be a tough series, no doubt. They [England] are a proud cricketing nation and I respect that. But I know they are definitely beatable. I didn’t come here to play second fiddle. I came here to win a series.”
The first Test at Lord’s starts on Wednesday.