Temba Bavuma and South Africa are ready to start again against the former West Indies

The party is over. After two months of high-octane cricket thanks to the SA20 and Women’s T20 World Cup, South African cricket now has to get on with the serious business of a Test series and you can expect it to be tough.

Although the series takes place after sell-outs across the country, the Trials begin on Tuesday of this week and Wednesday of next week, leaving little room for the huge weekend crowds and no rumors of those who speak

That’s understandable for a contest whose context was ripped when South Africa was confirmed out of contention for the World Test Championship final and against opposition who have not competed properly here since their Test victory at St George’s Park in 2007. Since then, the West Indies have only toured South Africa once in 2014, failing to win a Test.
Temba Bavuma made his debut in that series and while unremarkable, it marked a full circle moment for someone who saw Caribbean cricketers as role models. “Growing up, West Indies was the team I rooted for,” Bavuma said before the first Test. “They were always on TV at home and my uncles supported them. I guess there’s always been that (special) feeling when it comes to the West Indies. When I made my debut I scored 10 runs so that wasn’t a problem.” to make a big noise. Hopefully this can go better.”
As far as leadership debuts go, Bavuma probably couldn’t have wished for a low-key assignment. At the same time as she begins her Test captaincy reign, Australia plays India, England is in New Zealand and the Women’s Premier League begins. It’s safe to say that most cricket fans’ eyes will be occupied, especially since the outcome of this series bears no relation to the current WTC cycle.
For South Africa it is simply a chance to start over, although their next test will be in December. By then, former captain Dean Elgar will likely have retired. He was planning this series as a swan song both in terms of captaincy and play and after he had no choice in the former, he’ll want to make sure he controls the latter. Elgar’s tenure lasted less than two years and he began a brief renaissance for the Test side, but he was succeeded by Bavuma by new manager Shukri Conrad, who was tasked with turning around a team that was completely outperformed in his last five Tests.

South Africa lost series in both England and Australia and were bowled out for less than 200 runs in seven of the 11 Test innings. That has required a top-six shakeup that has seen Sarel Erwee, Rassie van der Dussen, Khaya Zondo and Kyle Verreynne fall and recall Aiden Markram and Ryan Rickelton. Also included are Keegan Petersen, who has returned from a torn hamstring, and Heinrich Klaasen, who has been voted first-choice batsman-goalie. The overall composition of the squad suggests that South Africa is looking for a more proactive approach, à la Bazball, but with its usual caution. Bavball maybe?

“In my experience, we know that the last two series are always difficult tours,” Bavuma said. “They separate the good from the really good and (that) comes with challenges. We don’t meet those challenges. We know we need to score runs for bowlers to do what they need to do. We shouldn’t forget the fact that we have guys here who played India last summer when the people didn’t support us to do it and we won. And there wasn’t any guy who scored 150 or something like that. Hopefully (the series against) the West Indies will be another demonstration of guys going out and doing what they have to do from a team standpoint.”

To that end, South Africa is also expecting slightly less hostile pitches than usual, despite the fact that the series will be played entirely in the Highveld and there has been heavy rain for several weeks in that area. While Bavuma and Conrad haven’t specifically requested a particular type of surface, pitches have been more hitter-friendly across the country on the four-day domestic circuit and that will continue on internationals. Whether that will make cricket more exciting remains to be seen, but Bavuma certainly wasn’t selling it that way.

Asked what he thought of the West Indies, he said, “They play cricket the old-fashioned way. The batsmen strive. The bowlers look to hit their off-stump areas.” And he is not wrong. Over the past year, the West Indies have the lowest run rate in the Tests among all teams – 2.71. South Africa has the second lowest: 2.95. Both are well behind format leaders England, who score 4.36 clear and have the best Test win-loss record in the last 12 months. For teams like South Africa and the West Indies, who are trying to catch up, England’s high-risk, high-reward strategy could be an inspiration, but it seems Bavuma and company are getting their motivation elsewhere.
“All the guys were watching the T20 World Cup final and rooting for the ladies. We always look everywhere for areas to get inspired and generate energy and we will use them in our game,” Bavuma said, referring to the South African women’s team. who made history by becoming the first senior team from the country to qualify for a World Cup final.

Given that the men were kicked out of the last two T20 World Cups in the group stage and have yet to qualify for this year’s Over 50 World Cup, it’s fitting that they were taking notes on how their counterparts They have exceeded expectations and have even echoed the call for more money to be spent on women’s football.

“It’s been great — what the women’s team has been able to accomplish lately, with the limited resources they have,” Bavuma said. “With performances like this, I hope there’s a lot more support, a lot more care and a lot more investment in the women’s team.”

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