Cricket has produced some fascinating stories and many have been on offer with time. This time, South African left-handed batsman and New Zealand’s Neil Wagner are bracing up to renew their ‘old-school’ rivalry in the first Test of three-match series in Dunedin on Wednesday (March 8), which began during their school matches at the Highveld in South Africa.
“Free State against Northerns used to be pretty feisty,” Elgar was quoted on Monday as saying by Reuters ahead of the first Test at University Oval.
The 29-year-old Welkom born Elgar in junior players’ cricket had feisty encounters with Wagner while studying at St Dominic’s College, which further extended to the regional level tournaments.
“There’s a lot of Afrikaans people in those two teams and it was pretty heated. It was all in good spirit and I guess we were all playing for careers we never thought we could have back then,” Elgar added.
The 30-year-old Wagner, who was born in Pretoria before making a career in cricket for the Black Caps, played for Afrikaans’ Boys High School which has nursed South African stars in the form of AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.
“It’s a very non-South African style of cricket we need to play and we need to find our niche very soon. We need to adapt, assess the conditions as soon as possible and try to throw the first punch.
Last year in August, both players met in Durban Test which was a washed-out game. Elgar has played 32 Tests for South Africa and Wagner has played 29 for the Kiwis so far.
“Good for them, I guess. It’s something for us to try and correct, Elgar added.
However, they have been good friends’ off-the-field while playing an important role for their respective teams.
“Dean [Elgar] is a great man. I do like sitting afterwards having a beer with him but, yeah, we hate playing against each other. I guess it is part and parcel of the job,” Wagner said on Elgar.