T20 World Cup

Major boost for Proteas as Tabraiz Shamsi is pronounced ready for Aussie opener

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South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi
South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi
Randy Brooks / AFP
  • Tabraiz Shamsi, the Proteas' key T20 bowler, is fit for their T20 World Cup opener against the Australians on Saturday.
  • The left-arm spinner sat out a large chunk of a warm-up match against Pakistan due to a groin niggle, but has passed a fitness test.
  • Skipper Temba Bavuma pronounces himself ready too after completing two innings following a fractured thumb.

The Proteas' prospects of starting the ICC T20 World Cup on a positive note have been bolstered by the availability of Tabraiz Shamsi.

Ranked as the No 1 bowler in T20Is, the left-arm tweaker left the local cricketing fraternity worried during Wednesday's warm-up match against Pakistan when he left the field with a groin problem after bowling just four deliveries.

Yet that precautionary action seems to have paid dividends as he's ready to take on Australia in their opening match of the campaign in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

"As far as I understand, Tabraiz is good to go," Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma confirmed on Friday.

"He passed his fitness test today, so he's good to go."

Despite the relatively undemanding nature of the fixture against the Pakistanis, it was notable how South Africa's lacked some sting in his absence, with fellow left-armer Bjorn Fortuin struggling with his economy.

Meanwhile, Bavuma - who had to recover quickly from a fractured thumb sustained in August's tour to Sri Lanka - also professed himself fit and ready.  

"My fitness is good. I managed to get through those warm-ups unscathed," he said.

"The hand is fine and I'm ready."

Importantly, the diminutive right-hander had the opportunity of some decent time in the middle, including a 42-ball 46 against the Pakistanis that wasn't always fluent.

However, that underwhelming strike-rate is not a portent of him potentially putting his fellow batters under pressure during the tournament.

"I think from my side, not having played cricket for quite a while, that probably contributed to that. I think it was also adjusting to the conditions and I guess trying to formulate a game plan that was also part of that," Bavuma assured.

"Yeah, I think probably being out of the game for quite a while, that was probably the main contributor."

Given the expectations of a slowish surface at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, his more measured approach might just be the tonic the Proteas batting order needs.

First ball is at 12:00.

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