If anyone’s to blame for Temba Bavuma not being bought at the SA20 auction, it’s the man himself, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
The opening batsman was the only member of the Proteas 15-man T20 World Cup squad not to be bought by one of the six franchises on Monday, after twice going unsold.
“I almost feel let down in a way. I don’t think it comes down to any entitlement on my side,” said Bavuma before the Proteas’ departure to India on Thursday.
Bavuma didn’t say who he felt let down by. It couldn’t be CSA or the tournament organisers because, as SA20 commissioner Graeme Smith pointed out, they can’t get involved in selection decisions made by privately owned franchises.
If Bavuma is looking for someone to blame, he should look in the mirror.
He agreed to his base price of R850,000, which the franchise owners considered to be too much for a batsman with his T20 stats, for which he is also responsible.
I wrote earlier this year that Bavuma had become a liability for the Proteas T20I team.
At last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE, he scored 91 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 108.33. In the T20I series in India this year, he made 61 runs in four innings at 103.38.
That strike rate is simply not good enough for the shortest form of the game when teams have to get off to a flyer from ball one.
The six SA20 franchise owners would have looked at Bavuma’s T20 numbers and his base price, and decided that their money would be better spent elsewhere.
Just as they would have done with Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar, who went unsold at R175,000 because his batting style is not suited to T20 cricket. Where was the outcry?
Boland Rocks captain Pieter Malan, the top run-scorer in the previous CSA T20 Challenge, also wasn’t picked up for R175,000. Why aren’t we talking about that?
“But Bavuma is the Proteas T20 captain”, his supporters will say, ignoring the fact that he shouldn’t be in the squad at all, let alone leading the team.
The big-hitting Rilee Rossouw and Reeza Hendricks are both far better options to open the batting with Quinton de Kock in T20Is.
Rossouw’s brilliant T20 Blast campaign in England earned him a Proteas recall and he justified it by smashing an unbeaten 96 off 55 balls in the second T20I against England (10 fours and five sixes).
Hendricks, meanwhile, made the most of Bavuma’s injury forced absence, hitting 296 runs in five matches against England and Ireland at an average of 59.20 and a strike rate of 142.30, including four fifties.
Rossouw was bought for R6.9-million by the Pretoria Capitals and Reeza Hendricks for R4.5m by the Joburg Super Kings.
Money talks – and it spoke loudly at the SA20 auction on Monday.