Cricket

Bavuma's chance to show he belongs

2017-08-29 11:42
Temba Bavuma (Getty)

Cape Town - Temba Bavuma is carving out a nice little niche for himself in the middle order of the Proteas Test team, but he hasn't yet cracked the nod for an extended run in the limited overs set-up.  

The 27-year-old now has 24 Test matches to his name, but his only ODI came in September of last year in a largely insignificant match against Ireland in Benoni. 

Opening the innings, Bavuma became only the second South African and 12th batsman ever to score a century on ODI debut.

Since then, though, he has not been included in the ODI set-up. 

On Sunday at the T20 Global League player draft in Cape Town, Bavuma was snapped up in the fifth round of picks by the Joburg Giants, pocketing R975 000 for his trouble. 

It showed that he is considered a valuable player in the shorter formats of the game, and he will join Proteas team-mates Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Andile Phehlukwayo nd Duanne Olivier in a squad that, on paper, looks to be one of the most dangerous in the competition. 

Bavuma averages a healthy 29.65 in T20 cricket at first-class level, going at a strike rate of 122.52. 

He is hardly explosive, but Bavuma has an ability to work the ball round the park and score quickly through innovative shot-making. When looking at the Joburg Giants squad, he is one of the more obvious picks to open the batting. 

With a desire to represent his country in all formats, this tournament could be the perfect vehicle to help Bavuma show national selectors that he can make the transition from red ball cricket. 

"I've always enjoyed T20 and here's another opportunity to showcase my talent in another format," Bavuma told Sport24 on Sunday.

"I haven't really looked at the prospects of playing for South Africa in T20 ... I think it's something that will happen in its own time.

"But this will definitely be a platform for me to push my case. Whatever happens, happens."

Bavuma has recently relocated to Cape Town and joined the Cape Cobras from the Highveld Lions, but this tournament will see his return to the Wanderers and the ground that launched his career.

"If there was a team to choose, Joburg would definitely be one of them," Bavuma added.

The tournament, he said, was a great way for South African cricket to look after its young players.

"That's one of the objectives; to incentivise players and to keep them plying their trade here in South Africa," he said.

"With the money that is floating around in the event, I'm sure that's going to motivate guys to stay a bit longer.

"It's also about exposure ... they will be seen by other countries and hopefully get an opportunity to play in other leagues."

The first match of the tournament will see the Cape Town Knight Riders and the Pretoria Mavericks do battle at Newlands on November 3, and Cricket South Africa (CSA) will be hoping for a big crowd. 

Support from the public is one of the major challenges heading into the competition, but Bavuma believes that the star power on display will help in that regard.

"If you have a guy like AB de Villiers playing every week, people will definitely come through," he said.

"Unfortunately at domestic level we don't really have that advantage. Those guys being around - Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Kevin Pietersen - will definitely go a long way to attracting the crowds."

The Joburg Giants play their first match on November 4 when they take on the Stellenbosch Monarchs on November 4 in Paarl.

Follow Sport24 journalist @LloydBurnard on Twitter...

Joburg Giants Squad

Brendon McCullum (NZ), Kagiso Rabada, Colin Ingram, Vernon Philander, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Jonker, Temba Bavuma, Patrick Kruger, Yasir Shah (PAK), Nicolas Pooran, Duanne Olivier, Jonathan Vandiar, Roelof van dr Merwe, Andries Gous, Rabian Engelbrecht, Dane Piedt, Andre Malan, Zubayr Hamza.

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