Judge Temba Bavuma’s performances where it matters ... the T20 World Cup

a cricketer fielding during a match

Temba Bavuma’s performance should not be judged before the T20 World Cup. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Oct 5, 2022


Cape Town - Temba Bavuma failed yet again in yesterday’s third T20 International against India in Indore.

The Proteas captain was out for just three runs off eight balls, which finished a miserable three-match series for him that started out with two ducks in a row in Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati.

Coming after he was snubbed at the SA20 auction in Cape Town recently, it is a lot for the 32-year-old from Langa to take in.

Just on that SA20 auction: it is hard to understand how South Africa’s T20I skipper can be ignored in his own domestic tournament, especially as he has done well for the Lions over the years in all formats.

But let’s get back to the Proteas situation. In his last 11 T20I innings before the current India series, Bavuma recorded scores of 13, 0, 72, 12, 2, 46, 31 not out, 10, 35, 8 and 8 not out. That’s not earth-shattering figures, but not exactly terrible either.

Then Bavuma missed out on the England tour due to a fractured elbow, and he only made his return to action in September in a pre-season T20 tournament in Windhoek, Namibia, where he played for the Lions.

He produced scores of 23, 56, 9 and 15 against a Namibian XI and Lahore Qalandars, where he batted at No 3 in three matches and opened the batting in the other.

Three weeks later, he found himself in India, where he battled for runs in a warm-up series for the T20 World Cup, which will take place in Australia and starts on October 16.

So, surely Bavuma must be judged on what he does at the World Cup instead of a pre-tournament series? Australian conditions are very different to India, and his batting style will be better suited to the bouncier pitches Down Under.

He hasn’t played a lot of cricket since his last match on June 17 against India in Rajkot before he was ruled out with his injury, which kept him sidelined for nearly three months – so, he needs to be cut some slack.

Of course, strike-rate is king in T20 cricket, and Bavuma’s mark of 116.49 needs to be considerably better going forward.

But at this stage, he has been appointed as captain for the World Cup by selection chief Victor Mpitsang and coach Mark Boucher, who feel he can do a job in Australia.

The social-media warriors calling for Bavuma to be dropped feel that the likes of Reeza Hendricks – who was excellent against England – Rilee Rossouw, Quinton de Kock should make up the top three in the Proteas batting order.

But before his brilliant 100 not out off 48 balls (7x4, 8x6) in Indore on Tuesday, Rossouw had not been convincing since his return to the Proteas side.

The tall left-hander produced scores of 4, 96 not out, 31, 0 and 0 before his maiden T20I century yesterday, so he is not a guaranteed selection in Australia either. Will his free-swinging style be successful on those tracks?

For me, the selection quandary for the World Cup is between Hendricks and Rossouw in the top three, as Bavuma has been backed as the captain …


IOL Sport

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