Proteas puts faith in Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock opening combination
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CAPE TOWN - Unless the Proteas opt to rest Quinton de Kock for the T20I series starting today against Ireland, like they did for the opening two ODI's, the in-form Janneman Malan will revert to drinks duty yet again.
Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe confirmed to the media yesterday that captain Temba Bavuma will open the innings in the build-up to the T20 World Cup.
After initially coming in at first-drop for the first four matches in the Caribbean, Bavuma opened with De Kock in the series finale where the Proteas edged out the world champions West Indies 3-2 in Grenada.
Bavuma fell early though, allowing Aiden Markam to seemingly lock in the No 3 position after striking 70 off 48 balls in a series-winning 128-run stand with De Kock.
It seems then that there will likely be no place in the shortest format for Malan despite the Boland opener's heroics in the preceding ODI series in Ireland.
Malan was named Player of the Series after stroking 261 runs in two matches, which included a career-best 177 not out.
“It is something that we want (Bavuma opening). We do understand that there is a good synergy between Quinton and Temba right up the order. We trust that it's our best combination and they have proved that in the past in different formats. And it has worked wonderfully,” Nkwe said.
“We do want to get our top-order as stable as possible and we will continue with that. But we will look at some combinations also because we want the guys to play under pressure and not to feel too comfortable in the position because at the end of the day we want positive results. We want to win the World Cup but in getting there we need to have the right combinations and formulas to score big runs.”
The Proteas only have these three matches against Ireland and a short tour of Sri Lanka before their opening T20 World Cup match in October to finalise their combinations. And although they managed to overcome a strong West Indies outfit in the Caribbean, there remains plenty of concerns related to South Africa's overall gameplan, strategy and formation of their line-up for the T20 extravaganza in the United Arab Emirates.
“As much as we won the series in West Indies, we were realistic in terms of how we went about our business. We had a debrief and addressed quite a few of our concerns that we need to continuously work on and back ourselves in different phases of the game: batting department, fielding department and bowling department,” Nkwe admitted.
“The fortunate thing in terms of back-to-back tours and games is that it doesn't give us a lot of time to dwell on the negatives and confuse ourselves. We have obviously taken the positives out of back-to-back games which gives us an opportunity again to execute certain areas to get it right for the World Cup under pressure.
“That's actually been a good thing in terms of preparation. So as much as we are not where we supposed to be at, these are the things that we are working on. Going into this series we are not going to take it lightly. We understand that there are lot of areas that we need to improve on, especially our bowling right at the back end."