South African batter Temba Bavuma
Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images
- Proteas legend Herschelle Gibbs says Temba Bavuma should be playing domestic cricket ahead of South Africa’s tour of Australia.
- Bavuma, the Proteas’ white-ball skipper, struggled for form during South Africa’s group stage exit at the T20 World Cup.
- Gibbs believes Bavuma’s position in the side should depend on his batting ability, not on his captaincy.
Former Proteas star Herschelle Gibbs says Temba Bavuma should play first-class cricket to spend more time in the middle before the Proteas’ tour of Australia.
The Proteas tour Australia for a three-match Test series over the festive season, with the first Test starting from 17 December.
Bavuma has been under-fire since taking over the reins as South Africa’s T20 captain, which was heightened by his inconsistent form.
Throughout the Proteas’ T20 World Cup campaign, Bavuma’s place in the starting XI was under scrutiny and his performances with the bat didn’t help matters.
Bavuma, who recently returned from injury, only managed 70 runs at an average of 17.50 in South Africa’s five T20 World Cup matches.
Bavuma is part of the Proteas’ Test squad, who only depart for Australia on 1 December as Cricket South Africa’s 4-Day Franchise Series season kicked off last week.
Several Proteas stars did not take part in the first round, with Gibbs questioning why out-of-form Bavuma couldn’t get more game time ahead of a tour to Australia.
“I’m a little bit surprised that he’s not playing in the Lions team in this particular round of first-class cricket. It’s a bit of a worry, having obviously not made any runs in the World Cup and [coming] to Australia in a couple of weeks’ time,” said Gibbs at the Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational in Sun City.
“No one made mention as to why he’s not playing (for the Lions), which is obviously a bit of a concern because he needs runs. And this is the ideal way to get into some sort of form with regards to one or two rounds of first-class games before you go to a Test series in Australia.
“Because of being the captain, he’s come under the most scrutiny and rightly so.”
Proteas Test squad:
Dean Elgar (captain, Titans), Temba Bavuma (Lions), Gerald Coetzee (Knights), Theunis de Bruyn (Titans), Sarel Erwee (Dolphins), Simon Harmer (Titans), Marco Jansen (Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions), Kyle Verreynne (wicketkeeper, Western Province), Khaya Zondo (Dolphins)
Last week, Proteas national selection convener Victor Mpitsang said the in-form Reeza Hendricks did not get more game time at the T20 World Cup because Bavuma “outranked” him.
Gibbs, who opened the batting for South Africa and played 90 Tests, believes Bavuma needs to justify his selection by scoring runs – and not depend on his captaincy.
“So I understand about Temba as captain, but it’s a big man sport. There’s no way of hiding, you’ve got to perform if you’re a batsman, you’ve got to make runs and if you bowl, you’ve got to take wickets,” said Gibbs,
“Ultimately, you’re a batsman rather than a captain and opening batsman, you set the foundation for the rest of the innings, whether you’re chasing or setting. So there are no excuses, unfortunately, in international cricket.
“I’ve known all about that, never made any excuses for that, but he needs to make runs and justify his place in the team.”
The Proteas will play an unofficial four-day match against Cricket Australia XI from 9-12 December at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane.