Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar insists there’s “no bad blood” between his team and Australia because of Sandpapergate in 2018.
The Aussies were embroiled in controversy when Cameron Bancroft was caught tampering with the ball by SuperSport’s TV cameras during the Newlands Test.
Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were found to be involved and all three players received lengthy bans from Cricket Australia. Smith also lost the captaincy to Tim Paine.
Elgar is adamant the Proteas have moved on from the episode ahead of the three-Test series between the teams that starts in Brisbane on 17 December.
“There’s definitely not any bad blood between us. What’s in the past is in the past. I don’t hold any grudges whatsoever. Both Smith and Warner have played against us for a decade.”
There is a chance that either Smith or Warner, two of the main protagonists in the saga, could be elevated to a leadership position for at least the first Test against South Africa, with captain Pat Cummins currently struggling with a thigh strain.
“That’s their issue to deal with. I only heard this morning Pat has a niggle. We can’t control their stuff, I can only focus on in-house stuff. The game I’m sure will be played in a certain way that respects Test cricket,” said Elgar.
“It was a tough time for all of us [in 2018], even though we weren’t the guys who bore the brunt of the scrutiny. Nonetheless, we were part of that and it was obviously a sad event.
“I personally don’t hold any animosity towards the players that were involved or Australian cricket in general. The scenes were unfortunate, but that period has elapsed and we’ve moved forward as a group.
“I wish things could’ve been different, the history is so rich when it comes to Tests. The competitive nature is distinct, we both want to go out and win games of cricket our country.
“I’m pretty sure on the field there will always be a bit of spice. The competition has always been rich and we have a deep respect for Australian cricket. Hopefully, it’s a good spectacle.”