Proteas coach Mark Boucher would love his batsmen to go out and show more intent in T20 cricket, but he knows they first of all need to be equipped to do so. And, he said on Tuesday that captain Temba Bavuma will be one of the players he will be working hard with ahead of the World Cup in October.
Bavuma’s series strike-rate of just 103.38 came under the spotlight when South Africa wasted a 2-0 lead in their T20 series in India recently, but Boucher on Tuesday backed his captain in unequivocal fashion, highlighting that many of his problems were due to the outstanding performances of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the player of the series, up front with the new ball.
“Temba struggled, there’s no doubt about it, so as coaches we have to sit down and ask why? It was one bowler that he struggled against – Bhuvneshwar,” Boucher said.
“Most guys did against him, he’s a fantastic bowler in those conditions and when the ball swings a lot then he is very dangerous. And the new ball was going up-and-down a lot.
“We will look at giving him more options, but it’s quite difficult to change up during a series while you’re travelling and playing. Temba had also not played much cricket before the series.
‘Stabilise the innings’
“Against other bowlers, his strike-rate was fine, there were no issues. He wants to score quicker and his stats outside the powerplay are very good. He gets boundaries in different ways than say a Rassie van der Dussen or an Aiden Markram.
“There is space for a guy who can stabilise the innings and we see him in that mould. Temba loves a challenge, look how he has come through in Test cricket. He’s a tough cricketer and captain and we certainly do need him. I’ll be working extra hard with him and the bowling machine,” Boucher said.
The coach was also frank about the batsmen needing to embrace a new, more adventurous way of playing that he is trying to institute.
“You need the technical know-how to be able to play the shots, but your mindset also needs to be open to raising your strike-rate,” Boucher said. “By doing that you get your confidence up.
‘Trust the plan’
“In terms of mindset, you need to really trust the plan. And it’s not just about playing maverick cricket, we need to be smart too. It’s a new way and we don’t want to just go back to our default of a year or so ago.
“The batsmen need to commit to the new philosophy and not have doubts. You’re not going to win the World Cup if you don’t have the right mindset and the way India and England play is the way forward.
“Some batsmen are not used to taking a risk inside their first six balls, and especially in the third game we saw that, there was not enough intent. We didn’t pull the trigger to put the bowlers under pressure,” Boucher said.