India vs South Africa T20Is: Goal is to solidify our batting lineup ahead of World Cup, says Temba Bavuma

South African skipper Temba Bavuma says the upcoming T20 series against India will be an opportunity for him to identify players for specific roles for the World Cup to be held in Australia later this year. The South African T20 squad last competed in the World Cup in Sharjah in November and with the next World event starting in October, Bavuma is eager to line up his troops. “The conditions in India do not accurately mimic the conditions in Australia. That said, it still has a lot of benefits to play. Any form of competitive cricket is good for us,” Bavuma said during a virtual media interview.

“We’re really going to use these games to get familiar with how we play cricket again. Get the right language we speak among ourselves, really get guys to understand their role within the team.” The visitors will also get to see some new faces in an effort to find a capable opening partner for Quinton de Kock.

“We have some new faces within the T20 space. Those guys are getting opportunities to see what role they can play and what value they can bring to the team.” The Indian team will be without many senior cricketers, but Bavuma expects the rubber to be highly competitive. India’s big stars such as skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have been resting for the series, the hosts will be led by KL Rahul and will feature a number of new faces including pacers Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh.

“It’s clearly a new Indian side. A lot of guys who have done well in the recent IPL have been given opportunities. From us as a team we wouldn’t look at it any other way,” Bavuma replied when asked by PTI.

“We don’t really see it as a ‘B’ side. We played against the Indian T20 side. So when we go into the game we will still be as motivated as ever. The competitiveness will be there,” he added.

The South African whiteball skipper thinks the Indian team has had players going hard and playing aggressive cricket lately.

“The attitude, the mentality of the Indian team has changed in recent years. It is guys who play cricket hard, who play very competitively. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are not there, but the Indian fighting spirit will still be there.

“We don’t expect them to make it easy for us. We don’t expect it to make it easy for us. We still expect it to get tough and we’ll approach it that way.” When asked about areas they would like to improve, Bavuma said. “That’s (hitting) something we want to solidify. More specifically at the top.” “When I look at our bowling, there’s a little more solidity and clarity. With these games we’ll try to find those combinations, or especially for those who work with Quinton beforehand.” “One, two or number three position is probably where we would like to get a lot more clarity. But I think everything else will stay as it is. Our middle order is our middle order, we have a nice set of the all-rounders standing especially at the top.

“As for the series, we want to win, but also achieve all the other goals.” Indian spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav head to the series after a stellar showing in the IPL and Bavuma is hopeful that SA’s veteran batters will be able to navigate them.

“It’s going to be a challenge. We’ve played against them a few times and we hope we understand the conditions here in India better. The guys talk about them individually. They have the individual ways to spin and how to be successful.

“For the younger guys it’s important how the others share that knowledge.

“The way we have played slow bowling as a group for the past 18 months gives us a lot of confidence and belief that we can dominate spin bowling and different types of bowling.” South Africa will face India in five T20Is, from 9 to 19 June.

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