The Joburg Giants introduced themselves as Global T20 League participants on Wednesday‚ and Temba Bavuma used the platform to admit he may need to properly insert himself in the general consciousness in that format.
The low-on-extravagance‚ technically proficient batsman feels the perception that he may not be an ideal fit for the Twenty20 stage needs to be dealt with in the competition that starts in November.
"There probably is that element‚" he said about how he is pigeonholed.
"I won’t let external influences dictate the way I play. I’m not an emotional character. I play the game the way I see it.
"If I contribute well to the team, those other things‚ like the perception about the type of player I am‚ will sort [themselves] out.
"As much as you want to improve and be like a Chris Gayle who hits the ball out of the park‚ I don’t feel I need to change my game 360 [degrees] compared to what I’ve been doing in domestic cricket‚" said Bavuma‚ who has moved to the Cobras, but returns to Johannesburg for this competition.
The "other thing" he referred to incorporates staking a claim to play in the national team‚ while grabbing the attention of the mandarins who organise lucrative Twenty20 leagues around the world.
"I suppose the consequences of performing well in a competition like this provides you the opportunity to get roped into the other leagues‚" said Bavuma.
Given the fact that the Joburg Giants are a little thin in top-order operators‚ Bavuma may well be pressed into action against the new ball. He has yet to take a shining to it.
"I’ve always seen myself as batting in the middle order in T20s. I’ve had relative success there," he said.
"If you look at the make-up of the team, I may be playing a role upfront and that is something I will embrace and welcome.
"As a batter, you probably want to bat at the top in T20 cricket. I think I have the skill set. Ultimately, it’s up to the coaching staff and the captain as to where they want me.
"It’s about allowing the other guys to play their game effectively‚ laying a solid foundation. I’m not saying I’d go out there and strike at 90%; that’s madness.
"I don’t need to try to emulate a Brendon McCullum or a Chris Gayle," says Bavuma.
McCullum‚ the team’s marquee international player, Kagiso Rabada believes‚ is a fountain of wisdom that the team will need to tap into.
"He brings a very aggressive style that will hopefully rub off and influence players in a positive way in the camp and in the city. It’s exciting‚" Rabada said about the top-order maverick.
The Global T20 League‚ however‚ is not all about household names.
Unheralded André Malan‚ who is part of a cricketing dynasty‚ stopped short of pinching himself at the launch.
"I’m semiprofessional and it is a bit surreal sitting here next to KG and Temba.
"Initially, I was glad not having to face KG in the tournament, but then realised I have to face him in the nets three times a week," said Malan.
He had a fair idea how he was going to spend his new-found riches.
"Hopefully, I will get enough money to buy an engagement ring for my girlfriend.
"We just want to make our families proud. I’m still awestruck."