India vs South Africa: Aim is to solidify our batting line-up ahead of World Cup, says Bavuma
South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma says the upcoming T20 series against India will be an opportunity for him to identify players for specific roles for the World Cup, which will ne held in Australia later this year.
The South African T20 side last competed in November at the World Cup in Sharjah and with the next World event slated to begin in October, Bavuma is keen to marshal his troops.
“The conditions in India don’t accurately simulate conditions in Australia. In saying that, there’s still a lot of benefit from playing. Any type of competitive cricket will be good for us,” Bavuma said during a virtual media interaction.
“We’ll be using these games really to familiarize ourselves again with how we go about playing cricket. Getting that right language that we speak amongst ourselves, really getting guys understanding what their roles are within the team.” The visitors will also be fielding a few new faces in a bid to find an able opening partner for Quinton de Kock.
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“We’ve got a couple of new faces within the T20 space. Opportunities will be given to those guys to see what role they can play and what value they can add to the team.” The Indian team will be without many senior cricketers but Bavuma expects the rubber to be very competitive. With India’s major stars like skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah rested for the series, the hosts are being led by KL Rahul and will feature some new faces including pacers Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh.
“It’s obviously a new-look Indian side. A lot of guys who have done well in the recent IPL have been given opportunities. From us as a team we wouldn’t be looking at it any differently,” Bavuma replied to PTI’s query.
“We don’t really see it as taking on a ‘B’ side. We have played against the Indian T20 side. So, going into the game, we’ll still be as motivated as ever. The competitiveness will be there,” he added.
The South African white-ball skipper feels the Indian team in recent times has had players who go hard and play aggressive cricket.
“The attitude, the mindset of the Indian team, in the last couple of years, has changed. It’s guys who play cricket hard, who play very competitively. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are not there but the Indian fighting spirit will still be there.
“We don’t expect them to take it easy on us. We don’t expect it to be easy on us. We still expect it to be tough, and we’ll be approaching it in that manner.” Asked about areas they would like to improve Bavuma said.
“That’s (batting) a thing we’d like to solidify. More specifically at the top.” “If I look at our bowling there is a bit more of solidity and clarity. With these games we’ll be trying to find those combinations, or particularly for who partners up with Quinton upfront.”
“One, two or number three position are probably where we’d like to get a lot more clarity. But I think everything else will kind of will continue as is. Our middle order is our middle order, we’ve got a nice set of all rounders is more particularly at the top.
“In terms of the series, we are looking to win but also achieve all the other objectives as well.” Indian spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav head to the series after a stellar display in the IPL and Bavuma is hopeful the SA experienced batters are able to navigate them.
“It will be a challenge. We’ve played against them a couple of times, and one hopes that we have a better understanding of conditions here in India. The guys are speaking individually about them. They have the individual ways of approaching spin and how they can be successful.
“For the younger guys, it’ll be important how the others share that knowledge.
“The way that we played slow bowling over the last 18 months or so as a group gives us a lot of confidence and belief that we can dominate spin bowling and different types of bowling.” South Africa are set to take on India in five T20Is, starting from June 9 to 19.