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We are taking on the Indian T20 side, not the 'A' or 'B' team: Temba Bavuma

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New Delhi, June 4 (Ajit Weekly News) South Africa’s white-ball skipper Temba Bavuma quashed talk of them seeing the India T20I squad for the upcoming five-match series as an ‘A’ or ‘B’ team, saying that they are expecting tough competition from the K.L Rahul-led side.

For the series against South Africa starting from June 9, India will be without regular skipper Rohit Sharma, senior batter Virat Kohli and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, with the trio being rested. The hosts are also without all-rounders Deepak Chahar, Ravindra Jadeja and batter Suryakumar Yadav due to injuries.

“We don’t really see it as taking on the B-side. We are taking on the Indian T20 side, not the ‘A’ or ‘B’ team or anything like that. So, in terms of going to the game, we will still be as motivated as ever. The competitiveness will be there. The attitude, and mindset of the Indian team, as seen in the last couple of years, has changed,” said Bavuma in a virtual press conference.

“It’s guys who play cricket hard and very competitively. So, whether Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli is not there, the Indian fighting spirit will still be there. We don’t expect to take it easy on us and expect it to be tough and will be approaching in that manner,” added Bavuma.

Bavuma felt that with India rewarding IPL 2022 performers like Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh and Dinesh Karthik, their objective will be to win the series as the road to Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November this year resumes.

“It’s obviously a new-look Indian T20 team with a lot of guys rested. Lots of young guys who have been given opportunities did well in the IPL. For us, as a team, we won’t be looking at it a bit differently. The guys who have been given opportunities from the Indian side have given good and strong performances and are those who can win games for their country at any given point. In terms of the series, looking to win it and achieve all other objectives as well.”

Bavuma admitted that although India is different from the conditions found in Australia, the coming together of the T20I team for the first time after last year’s World Cup in the UAE and performing together as a unit is something he is looking to achieve.

“The conditions here in India aren’t similar to conditions in Australia. But in saying that, there is still a lot of benefit from actually playing. The last time we were playing together as a team was the World Cup (in UAE last year). So, any type of competitive cricket will be good for us.”

“We will be using these games to familiarise ourselves again with how we go about playing our cricket, getting the right language we speak amongst ourselves, really making the guys understand what their roles are within the team and just being together again. So, there is still a lot to achieve and benefit from this five-match series.”

Asked about the areas of improvement for South Africa in T20Is, Bavuma pointed toward solidifying the top-order, gaining clarity with the bowling and who forms an opening partnership with wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.

“With the bowling, would like some more clarity and solidity. With the batting, in these games, will try to find the combinations, especially who partners with Quinton (de Kock) upfront and where we are at one, two and three positions is probably where we would like to get a lot more clarity. Everything else will continue as it is in the middle order, lower order and have a nice set of all-rounders.”

Bavuma signed off by hinting that newbies in the squad like middle-order batter Tristan Stubbs could be given chances in the series. “We have got a couple of new faces within our team in the T20 space. So, opportunities will be given to those guys to see what role they can play and what value they can add to the team. You can maybe expect that along the way. Also, maybe just solidifying our positions from a batting point of view, more specifically at the top.”

–Ajit Weekly News

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