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'My hand is getting stronger,' says Proteas captain Bavuma as he starts facing bowlers in the nets

14 October 2021 - 18:37
Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma will lead SA at three World Cup tournaments in the next three years.
Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma will lead SA at three World Cup tournaments in the next three years.
Image: eane/INPHO/Shutterstock

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma will face bowlers in a net session at the team’s base in Abu Dhabi on Friday for the first time in more than a month since he injured his thumb in the first of the six-match limited-overs series against Sri Lanka early last month.

Bavuma started batting in the nets 10 days ago after successful surgery on his thumb.

The captain has not faced steaming bowlers since arriving in the United Arab Emirates on October 4 but expects to be fit for the T20 World Cup to be staged from October 17 to November 14 in the Middle East country.

“I had a good batting session today and I am definitely improving by the day,” said the 31-year-old Langa-born Bavuma at his captain’s press conference from Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“My hand is getting stronger and I am getting a lot more comfortable with it. Tomorrow will be my first time having a live net session facing bowlers.”

Facing steaming fast bowlers for the first in more than a month is always going to be challenging for any batter and Bavuma is no different. Bavuma said he is going through mixed emotions ahead of Friday’s net session but is happy with his grip on the bat.

“I guess what I am trying to get out of it is to get comfort with my hand and with what I can do and I guess make peace with what I can’t do.”

Bavuma got hit on his right thumb during the first of the drawn three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in Colombo last month and subsequently missed the three-match T20 series which the Proteas won 3-0. But fears that was not going to be fit for the World Cup have been laid to rest.

“I am looking forward to that and I guess that will give me a better indication of how far I have progressed. At the moment everything is still on track and I am looking forward to playing in the warm-up matches. I am feeling good and taking it day by day I guess.”

Bavuma said the Proteas are expecting worn-out pitches as a result of the traffic from the Indian Premier League being played on the same pitches for the World Cup.

“I have had the chance to watch the games, especially the IPL playoff games. Looking at the games that were played in Sharjah were I guess rather interesting. Sharjah is known to be a high-scoring ground but, if you look at the games, they have not played according to expectations.”

Bavuma said batters can expect a tough time.

“The wicket has seemed to be a bit tougher for the batters and it seems as if guys will really have to be smart, think on their feet and adjust accordingly.

“We don’t know what state the wickets will be with all the traffic that has been going on there.

“So you expect the wickets to be a bit worn out but the biggest thing for us is just to make assessments on the day.”

The Proteas have a warm-up match lined up against Afghanistan on October 18 and  will start their World Cup campaign against Australia in Abu Dhabi on October 23.

The team will play the West Indies on October 26 in Dubai and against the two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers on October 30 and November 2 before a confrontation with England in Sharjah on November 6.