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Temba Bavuma and Tabraiz Shamsi just needs more cricket, says Proteas legend Dale Steyn

South Africa's captain Temba Bavuma (R) walks back to the pavilion after suffering an injury during the fourth Twenty20 international cricket match againsyt India at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Friday. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

South Africa's captain Temba Bavuma (R) walks back to the pavilion after suffering an injury during the fourth Twenty20 international cricket match againsyt India at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Friday. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

Published Jun 20, 2022

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Cape Town — Former Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn has backed Temba Bavuma to lead South Africa at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Bavuma was excellent during last year’s T20 World Cup where the Proteas came within a whisker of reaching the semi-finals, while they are also unbeaten in five successive series, including winning 13 of their last 16 T20Is.

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After shuffling Bavuma around the batting line-up in the United Arab Emirates, the Proteas committed to opening the innings with the skipper in the ultimately 2-2 drawn series. It unfortunately did not yield the expected results with Bavuma managing just 61 runs at an average of 20.33. Even more alarmingly his strike-rate of 103.38 saw the Proteas fail to take advantage of the Powerplay overs.

Steyn, however, believes Bavuma will improve through more opportunities at the top of the order.

“I think South Africa have made it clear that they will be running with Bavuma. A couple of bad games doesn’t make you a bad player. I think he had a great World Cup. He was proactive in the way he did things. He was clever and brave in terms of the way he did things, and South Africa fell just short making the semi-finals, and finals, and possibly even win that World Cup,” Steyn told Cricinfo.

“Four games doesn't make Bavuma a bad player. Captaincy is a really tricky thing. I just think in this series now, he lacked that in his captaincy. That could probably be because his batting wasn’t up to his usual standard and that’s maybe just due to a lack of cricket. The South Africans haven’t played much cricket. Some of the guys have been at the IPL, but a little bit of ring-rust, game-rust, captaincy rust, all of that came in.”

Bavuma is currently injured after being hit on the elbow during the fourth T20I that forced him to miss the washed out series-decider in Bengaluru. He should, though, be ready for South Africa’s next T20I assignment against England, with the three-match series starting in Bristol on July 27.

Steyn also felt that Proteas chief spin bowling weapon Tabraiz Shamsi will be better in the England series. The left-arm wrist-spinner is a vital component of South Africa’s attack, but was severely exposed during the India series where he picked up just one wicket at an average of 102. He also conceded 10 runs to the over and was ultimately dropped for the series decider in Bengaluru.

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“I wouldn’t say it's a concern. I am going to give these guys a bit of leeway. They’ve been sitting back home freezing in South Africa, and not have had much cricket. I think the more cricket he plays, the more he will get better,” Steyn said.

“South Africa will need him to get better because they’ve relied on him to control those middle overs between 7 and 15, and take a wicket or two to stem the run-rate. In this series India did not just knock it around, they decided to go for it to set themselves up, so that DK or Hardik could come in, and do what they do in the last five overs. Shamsi just needs to play more cricket.”

@ZaahierAdams

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