Faf du Plessis has revealed why he’s staying at No 5, and why Temba Bavuma is set to continue his role at No 4.
Despite his unflattering average in the England Test series, and indeed his career as a whole, the role Bavuma plays in the Proteas’ middle-order goes far beyond his stats, and he proved that once again in South Africa’s 3-1 series defeat to England.
The only thing that’s lacking from the 27-year-old’s game is pushing on to score hundreds, but he was the English bowlers’ most difficult batsman to get out throughout the series, going on to make starts in every innings and scoring two half-centuries in the process.
He scored double figures on every occasion, only scoring below 20 twice, and displayed his resilience with the bat in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, even with the added responsibility of coming in at No 4.
With two Tests coming up against Bangladesh towards the end of September, the Proteas are expected to hand Bavuma another chance to show what he’s capable of at No 4.
‘He’s very good technically, and with Hashim and myself, we have the three best techniques in that lineup,’ said Test skipper Du Plessis. ‘Temba is someone we can plan and look ahead to in that No 4 position.’
Du Plessis’ reluctance to move up to No 4 did start to become a sticky issue for the public, amid the batting failures around him throughout the series. But coach Russell Domingo decided that it was best for the team to keep someone at No 5 who’s able to shift gears appropriately.
‘The thinking behind that is that Russell really liked me at No 5, so if we’re in trouble I’m able to deal with it better.’