The return of AB de Villiers to the Test side might spell doom for Temba Bavuma who had cemented his place in the South African middle order. De Villiers will be making a comeback in the longest format of the game since 2016 which will force a player to sit out of the playing XI. The likes of Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock have already cemented their places in the XI which means that De Villiers return spell danger for Bavuma.
It obviously depends on how the Proteas set-up. They could shift de Kock down to No 7, play four specialist bowlers and retain Bavuma. However, if any top batsmen have to be sacrificed for de Villiers, it will be hard to find out anyone else other than Bavuma.
The Proteas are set to play 3 Tests against India followed by a four-match series against Australia next year but before that the Proteas will be playing a four day Day night Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth. Skipper du Plessis might not be playing against Zimbabwe which gives Bavuma another chance to prove the selectors that he should not be the guy who faces the axe for De Villiers.
The right-handed batsman played 26 Tests so far with the century at Newlands against England in January last year remaining the highlight of his career. He averages a shade over 32 in Test cricket but has come up with the goods when the Proteas have up against a challenge.
“Temba has come through under difficult circumstances for us,” the South African Convenor of Selectors Linda Zondi was quoted as saying by Sport24. “When you look at his figures, they can improve and he has got the potential to improve and convert those 80s and 90s to big hundreds.
“He’s a guy who we have definitely invested in. It’s up to him now to make sure that he converts. All of the top six guys need to perform … the inclusion of AB it provides competition.” Zondi further said that the decision to leave out Bavuma might not be an easy one but the selectors would take a call based on what they feel best for the side ahead of each Test.
Zondi added that while the decision was difficult, it was one that the selectors would make based on what they felt was best for the side ahead of each Test.
“It’s a nice problem to have but at the end of the day a decision has to be made. For us it’s just a matter of deciding which format we want to use … are we going to go with six batters or seven batters? Having AB around strengthens the side regardless of which format we go with. It will improve our batting level, even if we go with six batters,” Zondi concluded.