He can handle himself against Ireland, says McKenzie
Cricket South Africa batting consultant Neil McKenzie says Temba Bavuma has what it takes to open the batting for the Proteas in one-day internationals. Bavuma is expected to make his ODI debut against Ireland in Benoni on Sunday.
Regular opener Hashim Amla is being rested for the Irish game and Bavuma is being touted to take his place at the top of the order with Quinton de Kock.
Bavuma, 26, has never opened the batting in any form of the game and normally occupies a middle-order position in the test side.
But McKenzie, who was also used out of position as an opener for South Africa, said Bavuma would be able to handle himself up front if given the chance. “We know his credentials,” he said. “He’s done really well in the test matches. The one-day is not his preferred format but there is potential and the guys feel he can do a job rotating the spinners.
“For a small guy he packs a big punch in the power play and he hits good cricket shots, which you need in the 50-over format.”
McKenzie said the squad would be well-rested and up for the challenge which the Australians would present starting on September 30.
“The Proteas have just had a short break after the New Zealand series.
“We get together [today] and then we have Ireland on Sunday and a week’s buildup for Australia the following week.
“I think we have ample time to prepare. A lot of the guys have been involved in some other stuff so it’s good to have a little two-week break to refresh the minds.
“It’s not ideal that we are going into six one-day games and then test matches [in Australia] again, but that’s the schedule.
“There are a few guys coming from the SA A tour of Australia and I see David Miller did really well and is back into some form. The one-day stuff will be a big series for some of the guys.”
McKenzie said fans expected a high-octane series against the Aussies, who have already said they aim to get under the home team’s skin
“It’s going be a great series. They are missing a few personnel for the one-day series, but are probably resting them for the test matches. Whatever side you play against, Australia will always be up for it and they are a good benchmark.
“They are No 1 in one-day rankings and have won World Cups, so that will be a good test and they’ll also be looking to right a few wrongs they had in Sri Lanka recently.”
The former Lions captain said he was also looking forward to the Boxing Day test against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth in December. “It’s normally at Kingsmead isn’t it? “[Coach] Russell [Domingo] is very big if he gets the fixture moved down to his home province, you know,” McKenzie joked.
“But seriously, I’ve always enjoyed PE and the crowd comes out, especially over December, so it should be a really good test match and I’m sure there’s going to be quite a few bums on seats.” SA squads To play Ireland: AB de Villiers (captain)‚ Temba Bavuma‚ Farhaan Behardien‚ Quinton de Kock‚ JP Duminy‚ Faf du Plessis‚ David Miller‚ Chris Morris‚ Wayne Parnell‚ Aaron Phangiso‚ Andile Phehlukwayo‚ Dwaine Pretorius‚ Kagiso Rabada. To play Australia: AB de Villiers (captain)‚ Kyle Abbott‚ Hashim Amla‚ Farhaan Behardien‚ Quinton de Kock‚ JP Duminy‚ Faf du Plessis‚ Imran Tahir‚ David Miller‚ Chris Morris‚ Wayne Parnell‚ Aaron Phangiso‚ Andile Phehlukwayo‚ Kagiso Rabada‚ Tabraiz Shamsi‚ Dale Steyn. Fixtures Sept 25: SA v Ireland‚ Sahara Park Willowmoore (10am start) Sept 30: SA v Australia‚ Centurion (1.30pm) Oct 2: SA v Australia‚ Wanderers (10am) Oct 5: SA v Australia‚ Kingsmead (1.30pm) Oct 9: SA v Australia‚ St George’s Park (10am) Oct 12: SA v Australia‚ Newlands (1.30pm)