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Even with just two ODIs‚ Bavuma dreams of place at World Cup

15 June 2018 - 14:42 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
South Africa batsman Temba Bavuma.
South Africa batsman Temba Bavuma.

Despite having only played two ODIs for the Proteas‚ middle order batsman Temba Bavuma has not given up hope of representing South Africa at the ICC World Cup in England next year.

An experienced campaigner of 29 Tests‚ Bavuma’s ODIs were against minnows Ireland and Bangladesh in 2016 and 2017 respectively where he opened the batting with Quinton de Kock.

Against Ireland in Benoni‚ where he debuted with Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorious‚ he scored 113 from 123 balls‚ and he was dismissed two runs shy of his half century against Bangladesh in East London.

“I won’t lie‚ it is my dream to represent my country at the World Cup stage‚” he said this week during the Proteas’ training camp at University of Pretoria in preparation for the outgoing tour of Sri Lanka next month.

“Whenever the opportunity comes‚ I will take it. It will depend on where the team sees me fulfilling a role‚ probably as a backup opener or somewhere in the top three.

“It is tough because those top three places are solidified at the moment but we all know anything can happen along the season. I will have to use the ODI and T20 competitions that we have here at home to my benefit and stake a claim in the squad.

“It is a massive season for the Test side but most importantly from an ODI point of view.”

De Kock and mainstay Hashim Amla are certainties to open the batting at the World Cup if they don’t suffer unexpected loss of form or injuries. Skipper Faf du Plessis‚ JP Duminy and David Miller are other players likely to get the nod at the top.

“I have told the selectors and the coach that I see myself as a batter who can adapt to any position between one and six because that’s what you must do as a batsman‚” Bavuma said.

“They know where I stand but they are the ones who will make the final decision at the end. I have that approach as a batter and what matters is to be ready whenever the team calls upon me.”

With the retirement of AB de Villiers‚ Bavuma is expected to bat at number four in the two Test matches against Sri Lanka and he says he is in a good frame of mind after recovering from a hand injury.

“With the time off‚ I have given myself the opportunity to clear my mind and assess what happened during the season and asked questions on if I achieved my goals.

“I am fresh at the moment because I haven’t had a lot of cricket. I am enjoying the camp with the guys and working in the nets.”