Multiply Titans and Standard Bank Proteas opener Dean Elgar is happy to be back amongst the runs, chiefly because it has meant contributing to the team's cause.
Elgar struck a timely 128 against the bizhub Highveld Lions in Potchefstroom, as the Titans dug in and fought to a high-scoring draw in the 4-Day Franchise Series. Elgar's intervention, after the Lions had amassed over 500, was a source of relief and encouragement for what will be a long season.
"My slow start to the season had been a disappointment, and had actually become a frustration," the opener explained. "You want to be contributing towards the team, and one of our challenges this season has been getting the batting unit to work as a unit with the bowling unit. We haven't put up the runs to give them something to bowl towards."
Elgar found the touch again in Potch, as he sat in for 200 balls, and responded strongly to what was a daunting Lions' total.
"We had to have a response, especially after the Lions put up such a massive score. It was important for us as a team to come back from that."
The Titans, through a combination of form, injury and national call-ups, have had a tough start to the season.
"That has always been the case with the Titans. There are always plenty of national call-ups, and there are opportunities throughout the season for people to step in and stake a claim for a place in the side. We have had a few, new faces come in, and they have a great opportunity to make a name for themselves."
Elgar also noted that the opposition have rocked up to play the defending champions with added gusto. The Titans have set the standard for several years domestically, and theirs is a back with a target on it now.
"Even before I joined the Titans, I always knew that they were the barometer. Teams want to do well against the Titans, and they are really motivated. You can see that several teams have up-skilled themselves, and it is up to us to respond."
As defending champions, the Titans know all too well that the four-day competition is a marathon, and not a sprint. The Titans travel to Durban for the final round of this half of red-ball cricket, where they will meet a wounded animal. The Hollywoodbets Dolphins have suffered three consecutive losses, and are increasingly desperate for a change in
"Even though their recent results have gone against them, the Dolphins are a very dangerous side. We know that we will have to be at our best in order to get something from Durban."
Elgar did add that there have been glimpses of quality from the Titans, because they have not suddenly become a poor side. Inconsistency has been their Achilles heel.
"We definitely have played some good cricket at times. The problem is that we seem to be playing well from day two onwards, but we are playing catch-up by then, because we have fallen behind on day one. This (Dolphins game) is a nice opportunity for us to go away as a team, and play some good cricket," concluded Elgar.