Johannesburg - Mark Boucher is backing Proteas captain Temba Bavuma to make the necessary changes to enable him to bat at a quicker scoring rate in the T20 format.
The Proteas head coach acknowledged that Bavuma “struggled” during the five match series against India, which finished 2-2 after the final match in Bengaluru on Sunday was rained out. “As coaches we ask: ‘well why did he struggle?’ First off all he struggled against one bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Most of the guys did as well. You must give credit where it is due, Kumar is a fantastic bowler, especially in those conditions,” said Boucher.
Kumar dismissed Bavuma, once in four innings, but proved a handful for all the South African batters. He finished the series with six wickets, four of which came in a devastating spell in the second match, which ironically, Bavuma survived before helping Heinrich Klaasen to stabilise the innings and ultimately win that match.
However Bavuma, who opened the batting, battled to take advantage in the Power Play, finishing the series with a strike rate of 103.38, the lowest among all top order batters.”It’s quite difficult to change up during a series where you’re basically, in a ‘travel-play, travel-play’ mode. He’s not played a lot of cricket, and when opening in a T20 game you need to be on it from the get go. It was always going to be tough,” said Boucher.
“Against the other bowlers, his strike rates were fine, there’s no issue there. There’s no major concern from my side. He’ll know that he wants to score better.”
There’s no other solution to Bavuma’s troubles, than putting in the work in the nets, and Boucher explained that is exactly what the coaching team will be doing. However they will have to wait for the outcome of a scan to Bavuma’s left elbow, which he injured while batting in the fourth match of the series in India. Those results were due to be known later on Tuesday.
“Temba loves being challenged, we challenged him in the Test match arena and look how he came through. He wants to improve and given a bit of time, by working on a bowling machine with a couple of things, I have no doubt that he will come through,” Boucher commented.
“He is a tough little cricketer, he’s a tough captain, and certainly someone we do need in our team. As coaches we will be working extra hard to get him right against that particular bowling style.”
The players will be given a week off, before starting preparations for the tour to England, which starts next month.