Brisbane Test: Jonty Rhodes backs Dean Elgar and South Africa to make an impact

South African cricket survives just like the protea it is named after — a flower that is tough, evergreen, thrives in poor soil and hot and cold climates.

If there was a world championship for scandal and political warfare, South Africa would have Australia’s measure with daylight a very distant second.

In a poker hand of cricket controversies, they could raise the sandpaper saga and the odd mea culpa from players and administrators, with a full house of hostilities, from the apartheid ban, to disgraced captains, to an unpopular quota selection systems based on race, to incendiary political battlefields at board level. Only last year, the country’s sports minister had to intervene in the running of the game.

They could comfortably use the Paul Hogan, aka Crocodile Dundee, line: “That’s not a knife, this is a knife.”

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