Temba Bavuma is set to retain the Proteas’ ODI captaincy following the team’s World Cup semi-final defeat to Australia.
Rapport newspaper claims that Bavuma’s position is safe despite his poor tournament with the bat. The opener scored 145 runs in eight matches, at an average of 18.12 and a strike rate of 73.60.
Bavuma was also criticised for some of his captaincy decisions.
In Thursday’s low-scoring semi-final in Kolkata, he persisted with fast bowlers Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada for six overs at the start of Australia’s innings, in which 60 runs were scored.
He then waited until the 15th over to bring on spinner Keshav Maharaj, the world’s No 1 ranked bowler, on a pitch that was turning square.
Part-time spinner Aiden Markram, who picked up the first Australian wicket to fall in the seventh over, only ended up bowling eight overs, and was brought back into the attack in the 41st over when Australia needed just 20 more runs to win.
Bavuma, who strained a hamstring in the Proteas’ last league match against Afghanistan, also took flak on social media for a comment he made at the toss.
“I’m not 100% fit but it will have to be good enough,” he said before going to make a four-ball duck as the Proteas slumped to 24-4.
However, Rapport claims “Bavuma was 100% fit according to CSA’s fitness protocols, and passed his final fitness test under the watchful eye of team physiotherapist Sizwe Hadebe and conditioning coach Runeshan Moodley.
After the fitness test, coach Rob Walter asked Bavuma how he was feeling and the captain said he was ready to play – even if he didn’t feel 100%.
Walter and Bavuma then chose the team themselves as there are no longer independent selectors.