Proteas Test star Temba Bavuma says he was disappointed not to have been considered for a World Cup place despite some strong performances with the bat on the local franchise scene.
The 28-year-old was not on the radar of the selectors for the global spectacle, possibly because they do not consider him a natural limited-overs player.
It is a perception widely held by most South Africans, although Bavuma says it is an unfair judgement of his credentials as a white-ball player.
He proved everyone wrong recently by scoring the first ever century in a local T20 final and says the negativity has been driving him.
Bavuma’s century, which also came as captain, in the final of the CSA T20 Challenge led the Highveld Lions to the title.
He was one of the top three batsmen in the competition with 326 runs in nine innings, while he also shone in the Momentum One-Day Cup a few months back where he recorded 212 runs in five innings at an average of over 50.
His form concluded a good season on a personal level. Bavuma, who is now set for a stint in county cricket with Northampton in England, says that whatever runs he accumulated recently can aid his Test game in the future.
Despite Bavuma’s axing, there is also hope that he can play a role for the Proteas in future one-day teams.
Several key members of the 15-man World Cup squad are set to retire after the finals, meaning that places will open up in coach Ottis Gibson’s side.
After all, he has already played two ODIs for his country, scoring a century on debut against Ireland where he opened the batting and followed that with 48 in his other appearance versus Bangladesh.
Bavuma feels he has what it takes to step in, although he insists that for now, this was far from his mind.
Meanwhile, Bavuma admitted that he was worried about the injuries that some of South Africa’s key bowlers were currently nursing ahead of the World Cup, which starts against hosts England on May 30.
Kagiso Rabada is the biggest concern with a back injury, while Dale Steyn is also not 100 percent fit, both players having to return early from the IPL in the last few weeks.
Anrich Nortje was last week also ruled out of the finals and Bavuma believes everyone needs to be fit for the Proteas to stand a chance of winning a first global title. – Report by Thahir Asmal
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