Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
14 Oct 2021
6:03 pm

Bavuma says Proteas ‘relaxed’, ready to open batting at T20 World Cup

Ken Borland

"This bunch of players does not carry the pressures of previous teams on their shoulders."

Captain Temba Bavuma said the current Proteas team didn't carry any pressure like previous teams at world events. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said on Thursday that previous South African teams folding under pressure at global events is no concern of the current team as they head into the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Most overseas pundits are not expecting the Proteas to make the semi-finals, despite their fine recent form in the shortest format of the game. This is a far cry from most previous World Cups when South Africa have routinely been one of the favourites and have inevitably failed to deliver.

“The pressure that has been put on previous teams, we’ve had those conversations and we accept those pressures are always there,” Bavuma said. “But this bunch of players does not carry that on their shoulders.

“We accept that the expectations outside of our camp are not as high, but we know the standards we have set for ourselves.

“As a team, there is a certain level of expectation that we have and we have put in a lot of preparation on the physical and mental side of the game. Everything is quite relaxed at the moment.”

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Bavuma said his recovery from his fractured hand is “still on track” and Friday will be the day when he faces “live” bowling in the nets for the first time, having come through a lengthy session of throw-downs on Thursday.

“I had a good batting session and the hand is definitely getting stronger by the day, it’s feeling a lot more comfortable. Tomorrow (Friday) I will face actual bowlers and get comfortable with what I can do and make peace with what I can’t do. I can assess where I am,” Bavuma said.

With the veteran finisher David Miller assured of a place in the middle-order and Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen likely to bat there as well, Bavuma said his place in the batting line-up will be at the top of the order.

“My role is quite obvious and clear to me and I will come in at the top. Reeza Hendricks has been batting well there too, so one of us will probably open with Quinton de Kock,” Bavuma said.

The World Cup group stages get underway on Sunday.