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Bavuma’s World Cup journey has begun

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The Proteas upcoming ODI series is the perfect opportunity for Temba Bavuma to leave an indelible imprint on the teams’ style of play in the build-up to the next World Cup.

Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma knows the hard work begins now. Picture: Shaun Roy, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – IT is just on two years ago now that Temba Bavuma’s sole role at the Cricket World Cup was to entertain guests in a VIP Lounge.

At that stage Bavuma was very much regarded as a “red-ball specialist” and had to be content with being, at the behest of a national team sponsor, perched high above in the Edgbaston executive lounges when the Proteas were battling it out with New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup.

It was a situation that did not sit kindly with Bavuma, with him previously admitting “there was the element of wanting to prove to people that you can play white-ball cricket … if you keep hearing the narrative that you’re just a red-ball cricketer, when you know you’re not, at some point in time, it does get to you.”

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Never one to make comments without backing it up, Bavuma went away and worked hard to prove his detractors wrong out in the middle. He has succeeded to such an extent that he will now be the first name read out as captain of the Proteas one-day international squad for the next World Cup in India in 2023.

It’s already an incredible transformation, but Bavuma knows the hard work only really begins now, starting with his first series in charge against Pakistan this week.

“I think we have the opportunity now to define our style of play leading up to 2023 World Cup in India. We’ve had fruitful chats among the team in regards to batting and bowling and things are starting to become a bit more clearer,” Bavuma said.

“I guess for me it’s to enjoy this journey and this new chapter in my book. I look forward to creating value within the team.”

Without wanting to discredit disposed captain Quinton de Kock’s natural instinctive disposition, it does though seem that Bavuma has already brought a sense of calmness to the Proteas white-ball environment.

It certainly is a character trait that is required considering the current area where Bavuma feels the Proteas need to improve.

“I guess for me … mentally … that is somewhere we need to improve a lot more in terms of getting stronger,” Bavuma said.

The Proteas team have not played any ODI cricket since the enforced break due to Covid-19. It is the perfect opportunity for Bavuma to leave an indelible imprint on the Proteas’ style of play in the build-up to the next World Cup.

“If you look at South Africa, we have always been more than a competitive ODI unit.

“I even think we have got into positions where we have been No 1. For me really, it is to find that style of play that holds us accountable and most importantly be able to execute that style of play in any conditions and on any occasion,” Bavuma said.

“At the end of the day, I am going to be the guy that everyone will be looking at in terms of decision-making and the way forward.

“That’s exactly what I will be trying to do.”

@ZaahierAdams