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Ken Borland



Focus on Bavuma & his pedigree; all his focus on fulfilling his role 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

While almost all the focus in the build-up to South Africa’s first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday has been on Proteas captain Temba Bavuma and his pedigree in the shortest format of the game, the skipper himself said on Tuesday that all his focus is on fulfilling his role for the team.

Bavuma returns to international action for the first time since June when he retired hurt for eight off 11 balls in the fourth T20 against India in Rajkot; South Africa going on to be skittled for just 87 and losing by 82 runs as the hosts levelled the series. The fifth and decisive match was then washed out.

Bavuma tore a tendon in his elbow when diving to make his ground on a quick single. But questions had already been raised in India over his place in the side as he ended the series with 61 runs in four innings, at a strike-rate of only 103.38, the lowest of any frontline batsman in the series.

When he last week failed to attract a single bid for the SA20 league from any of the IPL-associated franchises, it created a fresh storm over his head.

“My focus is on the team and my role as captain is to lead and serve as best I can,” Bavuma said on Tuesday when asked whether he will be going all-out with the bat to prove the naysayers wrong.

“My job is to make sure the team is in the best space possible going into the World Cup. Anything else I try not to give energy to, they’re all distractions and sideshows.

“I’m trying to put what happened at the auction behind me and my biggest focus is on my role as captain,” Bavuma said.

The Indian team are resting the swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who gave the Proteas, and especially Bavuma, a torrid time in the previous series. Jasprit Bumrah is back to lead the attack. The home side’s most experienced batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, are also back in the fray, having rested in the earlier rubber.

“We were tested and challenged in all departments last time here and I think we responded quite well,” Bavuma said. “They have some big names back with pedigree behind them, and they will lead from the front.

“They will boost the confidence of the Indian team and add some x-factor. But it’s good for us to be coming up against their best players.

“It’s quite challenging against their opening bowlers in the powerplay, they get the ball to swing and move quite a bit, more than we are accustomed to at home.

“The key is to limit the damage, manoeuvre around them and try and get some momentum later on,” Bavuma said.

Play starts at 3.30pm SA time.

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