Opinion: T20I series in India offers Bavuma a path into white-ball internationals

T20I series in India offers Bavuma a path into white-ball internationals

Despite being a dependable performer for the Proteas in Test cricket Temba Bavuma has been afforded few opportunities to excel for his country in limited-overs formats.

The 29-year-old is in line to make his T20I debut after being called up to the Proteas squad for the three-match series that precedes the opening of South Africa's World Test Championship campaign.

Because of his Test cricket commitments, Bavuma has often found himself missing out on opportunities to turn out for his franchise in white-ball cricket. His records in the format are somewhat patchy as a result.

His ability to counterattack in Test cricket, as well as isolated displays of brilliance in limited-overs matches, suggests that Bavuma is better than his modest List A and domestic T20 record.

He may have no T20I caps to his name but Bavuma should still be asked to take on the role of a senior player in a dressing room under the command of Quinton de Kock.

A relatively soft-spoken man de Kock as captain will need the top players to help him lift the side and keep them motivated. As a livewire fielder, Bavuma is excellent at injecting energy into a fielding effort.

Bavuma signed off from a spell as overseas professional at Nottinghamshire in July with successive first-class centuries but struggled in the South Africa A One-day series against their India counterparts.

He played all five matches in that A series but ended with a highest score of just 40 in a struggling batting lineup.

Bavuma is not usually associated with explosive batting, but the Proteas have plenty of other big-hitters in the team. The Langa-born Test stalwart will be charged with holding the middle order together if the openers can't get away to a flying start.

The diminutive right-hander also offers the Proteas an option to open the batting alongside de Kock, that task is likely to fall to Reeza Hendricks first up though.

With just five specialist batsmen in the squad it seems highly likely that Bavuma will play all three T20Is giving him a great chance to show what he can do in the format.

India should prove a formidable test even if they are without star bowling quarter Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Spin should still be the biggest test even if Kuldeep and Chahal aren't around with IPL regulars Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya supporting the world-class Ravindra Jadeja.

Bavuma is a decent player of spin in the Test arena but will need to prove he can handle the turning ball when the pressure to score is on.

If he can do well in this series, he may be able to carve himself a path into the Proteas white-ball sides in the future.


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