Bavuma set for ODI opening berth in India

Temba Bavuma (Gallo)
Temba Bavuma (Gallo)

Cape Town - While results have been up and down, one of the main positives to emerge from South Africa's white ball summer has been the consistency of Temba Bavuma

Considered a Test specialist ever since making his debut in that format back in 2014, Bavuma has had to be incredibly patient for a chance at representing his country in limited overs. 

If there is one criticism, it is that he hasn't converted. His 98 in the opening ODI against England in early February ended in heartbreaking fashion while he also carded 49 in the final T20 against the same opposition. 

Still, this year, Bavuma averages 43.50 in ODI cricket at a strike rate of 90.15 and 41.00 in T20 cricket at 153.75

He is slowly going about booking his place opening alongside Quinton de Kock at October's T20 World Cup in Australia, while he also provides options at the top of the ODI order. 

Speaking to Sport24 on Monday after a 15-man squad for this month's three-match ODI tour of India was announced, Cricket South Africa (CSA) selection chief Linda Zondi revealed that the plan for India was for Bavuma to open the batting. 

Janneman Malan was given that responsibility in the first ODI against Australia in Paarl on Saturday and was out first ball to Mitch Starc on debut, but question marks over his abilities against spin bowling are the reason he has not been included in the squad for India. 

Malan can expect to play at least one of the next two ODIs against Australia - the next is on Wednesday in Bloemfontein - while Bavuma or Jon Jon Smuts are likely to open the batting in the other. 

Smuts will also serve as another opening option in India. 

Zondi also confirmed that the CSA selectors are keeping a close eye on the returning Aiden Markram, who has now fully recovered from injury and has posted scores of 36 and 103 for the Titans in the One Day Cup since.

He remains a massive player for South African cricket moving forward, but the plan is to give him some much-needed game time at franchise level and then look at a possible return to the national set-up after the Indian tour. 

Faf du Plessis, meanwhile, remains available for South Africa in all three formats and is still expected to reconsider his future after the T20 World Cup. 

Proteas squad for India ODIs:

Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Kyle Verreynne, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Jon-Jon Smuts, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj

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