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Will be a good test for SA batters how they come up against Kuldeep and Jadeja: Bavuma

To choke? I don't know how to answer that. I think if we come unstuck tomorrow, I don't think it'll be a matter of choking: South Africa skipper

PTI Calcutta Published 04.11.23, 04:23 PM
South Africa's Temba Bavuma during practice

South Africa's Temba Bavuma during practice Reuters

South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma is basking in the glory of a string of dazzling performances in the World Cup but indicated that facing quality Indian spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja on Sunday could test his batters when the teams clash here on Sunday.

Riding on their superlative performance, South Africa are on a four-match winning streak as they face Rohit Sharma's unbeaten side in a top-of-the-table clash at the Eden Gardens and Bavuma said his side will draw energy from the "positive sentiment floating around the team".


"Kuldeep (Yadav) has bowled very well. He's been taking wickets for them in the middle, in conjunction with (Ravindra) Jadeja. So, they've been quite key within that middle phase.

"I think we've played spin quite well as a team over the last couple of years. So, it'll be a good test for us batters as to how we come up against the challenge of Yadav as well as Jadeja," he said in the pre-match media conference.

Bavuma also said that the Proteas will have to bring their 'A' game to the table to counter Indian bowling, which has been augmented by the inclusion of pacer Mohammed Shami.

"You respect the strength and the threats that they bring. It's obviously a world-class bowling attack in their condition. We're going to have to have our A games up come tomorrow.

"We try to cover all our bases, make sure that we're not surprised by anything, and get ourselves into a space where we can play our best cricket," he said.

Asked whether their power-packed batting performance so far had wiped off the choker's tag that gets attached to the the side whenever it plays in ICC events, Bavuma indicated that a loss after putting up such impressive performances here should not be taken as a sign of choking.

"To choke? I don't know how to answer that. I think if we come unstuck tomorrow, I don't think it'll be a matter of choking. I doubt you would say that about India as well if they come unstuck, if they would choke.

"You got two teams who are in-form, coming up against each other and I think it's just a matter of who breaks first and who's able to, I guess, exploit that moment or that weakness.

"We'll deal with them as best as we can. But, yeah, I haven't heard that word come up as of yet in the training," added Bavuma.

The Proteas have had some world-class players over the years but they have not been able to cross the line even once, and faltered in the semifinal of the global showpiece on four occasions.

Bavuma conceded the "noise" around the team to shed the underdogs tag has been growing with each successful outing but the side would just like to stay in the present and draw energy from the positive sentiments to continue their dream run.

"From the start of the tournament, we spoke about just trying to take it game by game, staying as present as we can. I believe we've done that very well," Bavuma said.

"The noise around the team, that's grown, but I think it's for us to control our spaces within the team. But, I guess, also draw energy from the positive sentiment that's floating in and around the team.

"It's probably hard for us to keep going as the underdogs, but I think in terms of the team, everything still stays the same. We don't see ourselves any different. We'll still take it day by day, game by game." Two-spinner ploy =========== The match against India will be played on a used wicket that hosted the first World Cup tie here between the Netherlands and Bangladesh. There may be something in it for the spinners and Bavuma indicated he might playing both Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi on Sunday.

"Yeah, if the wicket assists the spinners, you'll definitely see those two. If possible, I'd like to play both our front-line spinners, but we'll see how that comes about.

"We are mindful of the fact that it won't be like Delhi, where it's a quick-scoring ground. We might have to graft a lot more. You might have to hit a lot more balls on the ground," he said.

Bavuma has been the weak link in their power-packed batting line-up. Having missed two of the seven matches because of injury, Bavuma averages 22.20 without a fifty to his name.

"I take comfort from the fact that I've been involved in some partnerships with Quinton (de Kock) up front. Obviously, you want to extend it. Mentally, obviously, got to keep staying there. There's still a lot of cricket to go within this tournament. I believe that I'll have a part to play somewhere within the tournament," he added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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