Another side-effect of the Proteas’ unfortunate washout in their opening T20 World Cup game against Zimbabwe was that Temba Bavuma only got to face two balls and it now seems like an eon since the captain was able to spend decent time at the crease.
Bavuma scored two not out but sending him in to open in what was then a nine-over game raised some eyebrows given his own comments the day before about how important nett run-rate is. But coach Mark Boucher, even though he said “the World Cup is cut-throat”, added that the skipper will continue to be in the team until he finds his groove.
Read more: ‘We’ve got to win every game now,’ says Boucher after Proteas-Zim no-result
The last time Bavuma faced 30 balls for the Proteas was eight innings ago when he scored 35 against India in a T20 in Cuttack on June 12. Since then he suffered an elbow tendon injury and then fell ill when South Africa returned to India for white-ball series earlier this month.
“It’s tough on Reeza Hendricks,” Boucher admitted, “but Temba is back in his place, he was injured, he owned the spot before and he is the captain as well.
“He hasn’t been in great form and we wanted him to get game-time in India, but he got sick. And then today [Monday] he was out there a long time but he didn’t face many balls because Quinton de Kock maximised his time.
“But he’s been batting really well in the nets, these conditions suit his game a lot more and hopefully he will find some good form. We will keep giving Temba opportunities to find some rhythm.
“There might have been a thought about sending another hitter in to open, but you don’t play for rain. It was nine overs and I thought it was a really good opportunity for Temba to go out and express himself,” Boucher said.
Clear weather and long boundaries
Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was also unfortunate to be on the sidelines in Hobart and he could well return for Thursday’s game against Bangladesh in Sydney, if the weather is clear and the usual long boundaries, especially straight, are in play at the SCG.
“There are other players in the 15 who are also on the sideline, we’ve got good depth and options,” Boucher said. “Playing the extra seamer against Zimbabwe was quite hard on Shamo, but I think it was the right decision.
“We selected the team knowing that there was rain around, giving ourselves the best opportunity if the game was shortened. But all 15 warrant selection, we have great back-up.
Read more: Player profiles – Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup
“We have a good idea of the venue, we know the conditions and the boundary sizes. Bangladesh made a good start to their campaign, they bowled really well, although they stumbled a bit in the middle of their innings.
“You just need one or two players to really come off in T20 and you win, and we believe we have good quality batsmen and bowlers, so quite a few chances of someone coming off,” Boucher said.