Temba Bavuma says he's ready to fill hole left by AB de Villiers' departure
The retirement of South African batting talisman AB de Villiers has opened a gaping hole at number four in the Proteas line-up and Temba Bavuma has announced his intention to put his hand up for the position.
Bavuma batted at number four last year during the fourth Test against England where he scored 46 and 12 in the 177 runs loss at Old Trafford as South Africa lost the series 3-1 and he wants to give it another go.
“I will be opportunistic because there is a spot open for someone to come in at number four and I am putting up my hand for that position‚”’ he said on Tuesday at the Proteas camp at University of Pretoria where they are preparing for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka next month.
“Hopefully the selectors are looking towards me but if not wherever they want me to play I will try to execute as best as possible.
"There is going to be an opportunity for someone to put up their hand.”
Bavuma said batting at number four against England in Manchester was a valuable learning experience and the position would put him in a better position to score big runs.
“I had the opportunity in England and I quite enjoyed it even though it was a tough Test match and series‚" he said.
"I enjoyed the responsibility and in a way it is something that could help my game because I have not been able to convert most of my starts.
"Coming in at number four‚ the opportunity is there to score those big runs and it goes hand in hand with what I am trying to achieve.
"But the decision rests with the selectors‚ the coach and the captain.
"I definitely put my hand for the role.”
Looking ahead to the tour of Sri Lanka‚ where South Africa are due to play two Tests‚ five ODIs and one T20 between 12 July and 14 August‚ Bavuma said it is going to be about adapting to spin.
“Playing on the sub-continent is different from playing here at home because spin becomes a key thing‚" he said.
"You must be able to rotate the strike off spin bowling and also to hit boundaries.
"It is about familiarising yourself to the challenges where the ball will be spinning and you must have a game plan for that.
"I have never been to Sri Lanka but I will try to make it a good one for myself and the team‚” he said.
Though he has not played in Sri Lanka‚ Bavuma played one Test match in India as opening partner to Dean Elgar in the fourth and final match where he scored 22 and 32 in Delhi as South Africa lost the series 3-0.
“From a team perspective we did not do as well as we wanted to in India in 2015 where faced the extreme conditions of spin.
"I am hoping that in Sri Lanka is not like that but we must just be prepared for worse.”