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Ken Borland

October not great for Bavuma as his form & health took a knock, but now he has to lead by example

Posted on January 11, 2023 by Ken

October has not been a great month for Proteas captain Temba Bavuma as he has scored just 11 runs in three innings and has been battling with illness. But he has to now lead by example and not only score brisk runs up front but also steer his team through a massive last week of the month in which they play Zimbabwe on Monday, followed by Bangladesh (Thursday) and India (Sunday).

Bavuma has been knocked over in the first powerplay in five of his seven T20 Internationals this year, so there will be plenty on his mind as he opens the batting in what could well be seamer-friendly conditions in Hobart on Monday. He admitted that there are a few “conversations in his head”, but one thing we do know about Bavuma is that he is a tremendously tenacious character and he will be fighting hard at the Bellerive Oval.

“I feel good, I’ve gotten over that sickness in India and I’ve had a couple of net sessions,” Bavuma said on Sunday. “The pressure is not unique to me, all international players have to deal with it.

“Yes, as captain, it is a lot more blown up, all eyes are on you and there’s a lot more critique of your performance and how you lead. It comes with the responsibility, and I won’t shy away from it.

“I will face up to it as honourably and with as much gratitude as I can. I’m aware of the conversations in my head regarding my game and how I’m going to lead.

“But I’m not aware of any outside conversations, those are not discussed within the team. Our focus is on knowing what we want to do and how to do it, anything else is for other ears.” The only selection issues then, with the dominating Reeza Hendricks out in the cold, will be whether South Africa play two spinners or one, and whether their all-rounder will be Wayne Parnell or Marco Jansen.

The Proteas, ranked fourth in T20s to Zimbabwe’s 11th and Bangladesh’s ninth, will go into their first two World Cup matches as favourites. They learned from last year’s event, in which they lost just one match but were edged out of the semi-finals on nett run-rate, that once they get the upperhand, there can be no hesitation in ruthlessly going for the jugular.

“Our biggest takeway from the previous World Cup was that every game matters, you have to perform as well as you can in every match, and make sure you keep the pulse of the run-rate,” Bavuma admitted.

“If you have the opportunity to win really well then you have to make sure you take it. We’ll be looking to execute as well as we can against Zimbabwe. There’s no time to ease into the tournament, it is so important to start well.

“It’s going to be challenging up front against the new ball, with the bowlers targeting off-stump. We have to be circumspect but obviously with the right intensity to put pressure on the bowlers,” Bavuma said.

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