Cape Town - Temba Bavuma may be an inexperienced international captain, but he is showing early signs that he is a fast learner heading into the ICC T20 World Cup.
The fast-paced nature of T20 cricket places plenty of pressure on any captain, who has to stay abreast with tactics, bowling changes and field placing while the ball is often flying off the bat to the boundary.
This causes many captains to lose track of the clock, which is an integral part of the shortest format for the 20 overs needed to be delivered in a specific time period.
It may seem like an indifferent technicality, but Proteas teams of the past have struggled to maintain their over-rate at previous T20 World Cups, particularly when the pressure is at its most intense at the death – like it will undoubtedly be during the upcoming jamboree in the United Arab Emirates.
Former captain Faf du Plessis even missed a crucial final group stage match against England at 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh after he was suspended due to South Africa's slow over-rate in the previous match against the Netherlands.
Bavuma, who has also previously been fined 20% of his match fee for maintaining a slow over-rate during an ODI against Pakistan, is certainly not planning to make the same mistakes at his maiden ICC tournament.
“You definitely don’t want to be missing games because of over-rate. It is definitely something that we have highlighted and something that we have to be aware of,” Bavuma said from the UAE on Thursday.
“We have to make sure we get through quickly between the overs. What may help us is if we play three spinners, we can get through their overs quite quickly and make up time for the death-hitting period.
“It is definitely something we have spoken about. It is something that we have been guilty of in the past and it is something we need to keep in check.”
Furthermore, Bavuma seems on track to face Australia in the Proteas T20 World Cup opener next Saturday, October 23 in Abu Dhabi. The skipper, who missed the previous Sri Lankan T20I series due to a hand injury, is recovering well, having had a few throw downs in the nets recently.
He will ramp up his rehabilitation on Friday when he gets in the nets to face bowlers for the first time, and is expected to play a full part in South Africa’s warm-up game against Afghanistan next week.
“I had a good batting session. My hand is definitely improving by the day. It’s getting stronger and I am getting a lot more comfortable with it. Tomorrow (Friday) will be my first time where I’ll be having a live net facing bowlers,” Bavuma said.
“I am looking forward to that and that will of course give me a better indication of how far I have progressed. At the moment everything is still on track. I am looking to play in the warm-up games. I am feeling good.”