Proteas interim head coach Malibongwe Maketa is happy with under-fire batsman Temba Bavuma’s frame of mind ahead of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane.
The 32-year-old has copped criticism in recent weeks for everything from his lack of runs to the decision to allow him to take some time off after the T20 World Cup instead of playing domestic cricket to find form.
However, Maketa is adamant that decision was the correct one and that he is “very happy with how he has progressed with his batting since his return to the squad.”
Bavuma didn’t bat in the first innings of the Proteas’ warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI due to discomfort in his left elbow, but he did get some time in the middle in the second, scoring 28 off 92 balls before being bowled.
“It would have been nice for him to have two innings, but he has batted a lot since we got here. So, in terms of that and the work he has done, I am very happy,” said Maketa.
“Where he is mentally – smiling and confident again – bodes well for us, him being one of our best batsmen going into the series.
“We have been lucky to come here and spend time in conditions similar to what we will face,” added Maketa.
“The batters scored good runs in the warm-up game. Dean [Elgar] got 100, Kyle [Verreynne] and Theunis [de Bruin] both got 80s and Rassie [van der Dussen] got a 90, so we had an opportunity to spend time in the middle.
“Some of the guys got to face enough balls to feel comfortable while the bowlers have been hitting the lengths we have been challenging them to hit, so we are very happy with how things have gone.”