Bavuma injury relieves Proteas’ Faf headache … for now

first_imgTemba Bavuma’s troublesome hamstring has at least temporarily relieved a middle-order headache for the Proteas ahead of the three-match T20 series against Australia, which starts on Friday.Team management on Tuesday confirmed that the diminutive stroke-maker, who had a promising series against England, will miss the opener at the Wanderers and is hoping to be fit for the second match in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.Bavuma’s absence opens up a spot at the top of the order for Faf du Plessis, who’s expected to make a return for the first time since stepping down from the captaincy.Had the injury not occurred, Du Plessis would’ve had to compete with Heinrich Klaasen, who played a starring role in last weekend’s third T20 against England, smashing a skillful 66 off just 33 deliveries.Now, at least on paper, both can be accommodated, especially since Du Plessis has previously opened the batting in T20s, particularly in the Indian Premier League.ALSO READ: Faf quits as Proteas skipper, door now open for Bavuma?Klaasen’s success was surprising because he seemingly squeaked into the national group on the back of potential rather than actual output.There were three fifties across two formats in franchise cricket in the last month-and-a-half, but nothing earth-shattering.In fact, only a depressing Test debut in India interrupted an international absence that lasted almost a year.Yet now it would be pretty harsh to drop him.Interestingly, Klaasen attributed the freedom he batted with to a few chats with “mentors” Albie Morkel and Jacques Rudolph.Both men were Titans legends, but never quite fulfilled their potential at international level.It probably makes them the ideal individuals to help ensure that Klaasen doesn’t befall a similar fate.“I spoke to them both these past few weeks about the way I want to play,” he said.“I felt I lost my identity as a player a bit. I was playing too much situation-based cricket and not making the impact I wanted to. They gave me some insights on when I play at my best and I’ve tried to implement that.“I didn’t quite kick on, so I’m very happy that it happened in this game.”Tantalisingly, Klaasen – known for being an attacking batsman – is now planning on continuing in his aggressive vein.“That’s how I play and it’s how I want to play. It’s about hitting the ball as hard as I can,” he said.The 28-year-old has previously noted how his franchise career went into overdrive after Mark Boucher was appointed Titans mentor in late 2016.Now that relationship can continue at the highest level.“It’s unbelievable playing under him. He gives you so much confidence and backs you all the way. You want to do well for him to return the favour. He did a lot for my career. It was a big loss for me personally when he left for the Proteas job, so now I want to make sure I stay in the national team, because I want to work with him again,” said Klaasen.For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.last_img

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