South Africa captain Dean Elgar will welcome a spicy Test series between the Proteas and Australia but without the hostility that culminated in the sandpaper scandal in 2018.
The two teams will this summer meet in the Test arena for the first time since the infamous series in South Africa five years ago when Australian trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended for ball-tampering.
In his recently released book Faf: Through Fire, then Proteas captain Faf du Plessis revealed the extent of the tension between the teams during the 2018 series.
Du Plessis labelled Warner a “bully” and claimed the Australians were abusive towards his team.
“Australia wanted to bully us … we had to stand up for ourselves,” du Plessis said in his book.
Speaking on Monday in Brisbane, where the South Africans are preparing for the first Test of the series starting at the Gabba on Saturday week, Elgar insisted there was no lingering animosity between the teams
However, Elgar was looking forward to some “spice” during the three-Test series, but without matter getting out of hand as they did five years ago.
“It was a very tough time for all of us, even though we weren‘t the guys who got the brunt of everything, but we were part of that and it was obviously sad events that happened,” Elgar said.
“I wish things could have been a lot different. The history between South Africa and Australia when it comes to Test cricket is so rich.
“The competitive nature is very similar. We both want to go out and win and play a brand of cricket that our countries are proud of.
“It was extremely juicy (in 2018) even building up to that (ball-tampering) game in Cape Town. It was interesting times, let‘s put it that way. Hopefully that’s been put to bed now.
“Hopefully there‘s no antics going on the field that no-one gets busted for. It was sad to see those events unfold.”
While Bancroft is long gone from the Australian side, Warner and Smith returned to Test duty following their bans.
Elgar has no issues with Smith potentially captaining Australia against South Africa if skipper Pat Cummins is ruled out with a quad injury, and is also comfortable with Warner’s presence in the series.
“That‘s their stuff, we can’t control that. I’m just trying to focus on what I can do in-house with the South African side,” the 35-year-old opening batsman said.
“Whoever succeeds (Cummins) if he doesn‘t play, it’s not my decision but I’m pretty sure the games are going to be played in a certain way that Test cricket is going to be respected.
“What‘s in the past is in the past. It’s happened. I don’t hold any grudges whatsoever.
“Both Smith and Warner are two cricketers I have played against for over a decade. I definitely don‘t have any bad blood whatsoever.”