Former Proteas batsman Herschelle Gibbs says Temba Bavuma should be playing domestic cricket for the Lions in a bid to regain form.
Bavuma has struggled with the bat for South Africa this year and has only managed to make it above double figures three times in his last 10 innings.
While all of those knocks were in the T20 format of the game, it is still alarming that he has failed to produce any meaningful runs for some time.
Heading into the upcoming Test tour of Australia, it is abundantly clear that he lacks both form and confidence, both of which could be solved with some time in the middle for the Lions in first-class cricket.
“I’m a little bit surprised that he’s not playing in the Lions team in this particular round of first-class cricket,” Gibbs said at the Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational in Sun City over the weekend.
“It’s a bit of a worry, having obviously not made any runs in the World Cup and to Australia in a couple of weeks’ time.
“No one made mention as to why he’s not playing [for the Lions], which is obviously a bit of a concern because he needs runs. This is the ideal way to get into some sort of form with regard to one or two rounds of first-class games before you go to a Test series in Australia.
“Because of being the captain, he’s come under the most scrutiny and rightly so.”
The situation has not been helped by Proteas national convener of selectors Victor Mpitsang, who answered questions about why a red-hot Reeza Hendricks didn’t get more game time at the T20 World Cup by claiming that Bavuma outranked him.
“I understand about Temba being captain but it’s a big man sport,” added Gibbs. “There’s no way of hiding, you’ve got to perform if you’re a batsman, you’ve got to make runs and if you bowl, you’ve got to take wickets.
“Ultimately, you’re a batsman rather than a captain and opening batsman, you set the foundation for the rest of the innings, whether you’re chasing or setting. So there are no excuses, unfortunately, in international cricket.
“I’ve known all about that, never made any excuses for that, but he needs to make runs and justify his place in the team.”