Proteas

AB's return ups the heat on Bavuma

2017-12-20 11:20
Temba Bavuma (Gallo)

Cape Town - The return of AB de Villiers to the Test arena is good news for the Proteas ahead of a blockbuster summer, but it does make the job of the national selectors more difficult. 

READ: Proteas taking it 'day by day' with Faf

De Villiers' return to the Test side for the first time since January 2016 means that somebody must drop out. 

With Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock all undroppable at the moment, De Villiers' return to the top order could spell danger for Temba Bavuma.

It obviously depends on how the Proteas set up - they could shift De Kock down to No 7, play four specialist bowlers and retain Bavuma - but if one of those top batters had to be sacrificed, it is hard to see it being anyone other than Bavuma. 

Three Tests against India and four against Australia will kick off the new year, but before then the Proteas will play in a four-day, day/night Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth. 

Captain Du Plessis might miss that match through injury, meaning that Bavuma could be given another crack at convincing the national selectors that he should not be the guy to fall for De Villiers. 

The nuggety 27-year-old has 26 Test caps to his name now, with that Newlands century against England in January last year still the highlight. 

He averages just 32.76, but has chipped in with some valuable contributions when the Proteas have been up against it. 

"Temba has come through under difficult circumstances for us," Proteas convenor of selectors Linda Zondi told Sport24

"When you look at his figures, they can improve and he has got the potential to improve and convert those 80s and 90s to big hundreds.

"He's a guy who we have definitely invested in. It's up to him now to make sure that he converts.

"All of the top six guys need to perform ... the inclusion of AB it provides competition."

Zondi added that while the decision was difficult, it was one that the selectors would make based on what they felt was best for the side ahead of each Test.

"It's a nice problem to have but at the end of the day a decision has to be made," he said.

"For us it's just a matter of deciding which format we want to use ... are we going to go with six batters or seven batters?

"Having AB around strengthens the side regardless of which format we go with. It will improve our batting level, even if we go with six batters."

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Read more on:    proteas  |  temba bavuma  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket
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