He’s got to convert those 50s into hundreds — Sunil Gavaskar on Temba Bavuma
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Johannesburg — Legendary Indian opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday said South Africa’s Temba Bavuma needs to score more hundreds to become a great player.
Gavaskar was speaking during the lunch break of the third Test between South Africa and India at Newlands in Cape Town, when the subject of Bavuma came up on the SuperSport broadcast.
“What little I’ve seen of him he’s been very impressive. He has very good technique and a very good temperament as well,” Gavaskar said.
“But, for South Africa and himself, he’s got to convert those 50s into hundreds. To be reckoned as a great player, you’ve got to be scoring hundreds a lot more [often]. He’s got the capability of doing it.”
Though in South Africa Bavuma is generally held in high regard, his 50s in Test match cricket outweigh his hundreds 17 to 1. Bavuma’s lone century since making his debut in the format for South Africa in 2014, came in his eighth Test innings against England in Cape Town in January 2016.
Since his maiden Test century, the 31-year-old Bavuma has gone 69 innings without a century, although in his defence he has scored 16 50s in that time.
Having made his debut for India in 1971, Gavaskar played 125 Tests over the next 16 years. He scored a staggering 34 hundreds and 45 half centuries, with a highest score of 236 unbeaten with a batting average of 51.
The 72-year-old Gavaskar suggested that it may be a mental hurdle that Bavuma has to first navigate on his way to achieving more three-figure scores.
“Sometimes you don’t quite know how to go from a 50 to 60 to 70. And then you do that once and it becomes habit. You tend to hold yourself back a little bit. Sometimes you have that urgency to get to a hundred, and I think that’s what we sometimes see with him.”
One of the newer inductees into the South African setup, Keegan Peterson who is playing in just his fifth Test, could also use an altered gameplan explained Gavaskar.
“Even with Petersen, you see that ‘I’m set let’s play some shots now’. In Test cricket that doesn’t always work.”
Former South African batsman Hashim Amla, meanwhile, had far more glowing praise of Bavuma.
“When you look at the back story of many cricketers, they’re always inspirational. Some people have more inspirational stories than others, and I believe Temba is one of them. Everybody has obstacles in their path, but some have more in their path.
“To have achieved the level of success he has, is fantastic. I think he’ll be striving every day to achieve more.”