India and South Africa tackle each other in a three-match T20 International series in the subcontinent starting on Wednesday. Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has been in the spotlight since his notable snub at last week’s SA T20 auction in Cape Town.
Bavuma says his main focus now is to prepare the Proteas for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia. The limited-overs skipper makes a welcome return to the Proteas set-up away in India. The 32-year-old has recovered from an elbow injury which kept him out of action since June.
The stakes will be high during the T20 series between India and South Africa starting on Wednesday. India’s six wicket victory against Australia on Sunday sealed a 2-1 series win but they have little time to bask in their success with South Africa their next opponents.
South Africa proved earlier in the year that they are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with India in the subcontinent and their recent form in T20 cricket cannot be underestimated.
“Our expectations of experience, we expect it to be a competitive one as it is always like you said the last time we were here we were tested. We were challenged in all departments of our game and I think we answered it quite well. You mentioned the boundary count that’s something obviously we should expect here in India hitting sixes, hitting fours, the small nature of the fields will be something we will be trying to match them. But I expect a good strong competitive series,” says Bavuma.
The Proteas will use the T20 series as preparation for next month’s World Cup in Australia. Bavuma says the tour to India is a perfect opportunity to tighten some loose ends before the tournament.
India and South Africa have a score to settle after their five match series in June ended in a 2-all tie. The fifth and final match of the series was washed out and South Africa managed to keep their streak of not losing a T20 series in India alive.
“This is our last series before the World Cup obviously, we will have to fill up whatever gaps we feel are there within the team. We’ve got guys who’ve been playing a lot of cricket so I guess we should manage those guys intensity and we need guys who need cricket under their belt so to give those guys an opportunity. But this is our last preparation, different conditions albeit versus Australia but till match time nevertheless,” Bavuma explains.
Bavuma maintains that he has put the SA T20 snub behind him.
He admits that he was disappointed after not being bought during the auction but he will be looking to prove a point in three T20 internationals against India ahead of the World Cup.
“The focus is on the team obviously I understand the role as captain and that is to lead and serve the team as best as I can. All focus for me honestly is on the World Cup and making sure that we are in the best space possible going into that tournament. At the moment what’s important is to serve the team as best as I can,” Bavuma added.
The second T20 match between India and the Proteas will be on Sunday and the third and final match will be played next Tuesday. All matches start at half past three South African time.