Faf du Plessis comes out batting for teammate Temba Bavuma after KP criticism
Having batted his way back into form with a fighting ton in the second Test against Pakistan‚ South Africa captain Faf du Plessis afterwards came out batting for teammate Temba Bavuma.
The diminutive middle order batsman scored 75 in South Africa’s first innings but was criticised by SuperSport guest commentator Kevin Pietersen for not converting more starts into hundreds.
Bavuma’s only Test ton is the one he famously scored against England at Newlands in 2016.
Last year at the Wanderers he came close scoring 95 not out against Australia.
“Temba will be the first guy to tell you over his career he has got a few opportunities where he could have gone on to score 100s where the wickets were good enough to cash in‚” the SA captain said.
Du Plessis explained Bavuma’s drive to improve.
“He’s a very motivated cricketer‚" he said.
"That is the progress he wants to make to become a better player. In order to do that when you get an opportunity you need to cash in.
"That’s the difference between averaging in the 30s to the 40s. These days there are not many players averaging into the 50s in all conditions around the world.
"Your 40 to 45s are your great players. Test matches are shorter‚ wickets spin sooner on the sub continent‚ the ball moves more in Tests here.
“Temba is definitely working on that.
"In terms of the value of the runs he has scored for us as a team over the last two years‚ there’s a lot of important innings where Temba got runs where we were in deep trouble.
“He’s got us 60‚ 70s and won us the game.”
Although Bavuma also missed out in the latest Test‚ Du Plessis underlined the telling contribution he made.
“Temba was a great example‚" he said.
"Two Test matches in a row now he has scored runs on tough pitches. He showed that if you apply yourself mentally and you have a technique there is a way.”
For Du Plessis too it was a welcome return to form after he bagged a pair in the first Test in Centurion.
He scored a fighting hundred in the first innings taking a number of body blows along the way.
He admitted he had wondered where his next run would come from.
“It was about being mentally positive'" he said.
"No matter how many Tests you play that happens. When I got that first run and getting off potentially a third duck it felt like my debut getting.
“I was hungry to put in a big performance.
"I feel that if you speak about being hungry for runs you need to cash in when you get a chance.
"As a leader I feel your actions are much stronger than your words‚” said Du Plessis.