Philander traces opportunity for Elgar in Proteas' leadership vacuum


Root's opposite number at HQ, Dean Elgar, is equally inexperienced at skippering a Test side - the opener will captain his team for the first time in a full worldwide with Faf du Plessis missing for family reasons.

South Africa team management said the "difficult" delivery had delayed the regular skipper's return to England, and opening batsman Dean Elgar will take over the Proteas captaincy for the opening Test. She has since been discharged from hospital.

It's a new England to begin the Test summer, though, with Root taking control for the first time in the opening match at Lord's, South Africa-born Keaton Jennings expected to play his first home Test and open the batting alongside former captain Alastair Cook, and Gary Ballance likely to be given another chance at No. 3.

For the new skipper, the perennial question applies for top batsmen who take on additional responsibility: Will the burden of captaincy suppress Root's outstanding early Test batting record of 11 centuries, almost 5,000 runs and an average of 52.80?

Elgar becomes the 12th player to captain South Africa since their readmission to worldwide cricket. "That is a tough job in this game", coach Russell Domingo told a news conference on Monday. "Our focus is on the team and getting the team to do well", added Philander. "We've got all the faith in Dean (Elgar)". Philander took 12 wickets in three Tests in 2012, seven coming in the series decider at Lord's, including a second innings five-for. "It can play on your mind if you're not used to it".

One of Theunis de Bruyn, who made his Test debut in March, or the uncapped Aiden Markram will replace the skipper and seamer Vernon Philander has been cleared to play after overcoming an ankle injury.

"We want to win, that is the bottom line", said the South Africa, "We set ourselves certain goals a year ago that we want to achieve in Test match cricket and we are determined to tick those boxes".