Batsman Temba Bavuma pressed for a return to South Africa‘s Test XI with a career-best first-class score this week.
Bavuma struck 180 for the Lions in a key 4-Day Domestic Series fixture against the Dolphins at the City Oval in Pietermartizburg. The near double-century was not enough to prevent defeat, but reminded the national selectors of the diminutive right-hander's credentials.
“From a personal point of view, it's always awesome to contribute to the team,” Bavuma told GamePlan Media.
“I have been someone who has been trying to rack up those big scores, fortunately this was that opportunity and I was able to grab it with both hands.
“It was massive to get time in the middle. It feels like I hadn't played cricket for ages to be honest.
“It was nice to be out in the middle, in the middle is where you can practise and practise and practise. You can set your goals and that stuff, but what matters is what you do in the middle, where you're able to get your mind in the right space.”
Bavuma in Test cricket
The 29-year-old Bavuma was sidelined from the Test series opener against England at SuperSport Park in Centurion due to injury. He returned to fitness, but was not selected for the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town or third at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth. Dafabet have the Proteas priced at 1.91 and the English 1.87 to win the ongoing third Test.
This century will have Bavuma in contention for a recall for the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg later this month.
Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe recently earmarked Bavuma as a potential successor to current Test captain Faf du Plessis. Nkwe and Bavuma have worked together at the Lions – and were Mzansi Super League colleagues during the Jozi Stars' title-winning campaign in 2018.
“We're keeping very close with Temba. I strongly believe he's a good player, and he's in the process of making sure that – from a mental, emotional and skills point of view – when he gets an opportunity to come back, whether it's in the next Test match or in a different format, he takes ownership of his position and does 10 times more than what he has done,” Nkwe told ESPNcricinfo.