The retirement of South African batting talisman AB de Villiers has opened a gaping hole at No4 in the Proteas line-up and Temba Bavuma has announced his intention to put his hand up for the position.
Bavuma batted at No4 in 2017 during the fourth Test against England, in which he scored 46 and 12 in the 177-run loss at Old Trafford. SA lost the series 3-1 and Bavuma wants to give it another go.
"I will be opportunistic because there is a spot open for someone to come in at No4 and I am putting up my hand for that position‚" he said on Tuesday at the Proteas camp at the University of Pretoria, where they are preparing for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka.
"Hopefully the selectors are looking towards me, but if not, wherever they want me to play I will try to execute as best as possible. There is going to be an opportunity for someone to put up their hand."
Bavuma said batting at No4 against England in Manchester was a valuable learning experience and that slot would put him in a better position to score big runs. "I had the opportunity in England and I quite enjoyed it even though it was a tough Test match and series‚" he said.
"I enjoyed the responsibility, and in a way it is something that could help my game because I have not been able to convert most of my starts.
"Coming in at No4‚ the opportunity is there to score those big runs and it goes hand in hand with what I am trying to achieve. But the decision rests with the selectors‚ the coach and the captain."
Looking ahead to the tour of Sri Lanka‚ where SA are due to play two Tests‚ five ODIs and one T20 between July 12 and August 14‚ he said it is going to be about adapting to spin.
"Playing on the sub-continent is different from playing here at home because spin becomes a key thing‚" he said. "You must be able to rotate off the spin and also to hit boundaries.
"It is about familiarising yourself to the challenges where the ball will be spinning and you must have a game plan for that. I have never been to Sri Lanka but I will try to make it a good one for myself and the team."
Bavuma has played one Test in India as opening partner to Dean Elgar in the fourth and final match, where he scored 22 and 32 in Delhi. SA lost the series 3-0.
"From a team perspective we did not do as well as we wanted to in India in 2015, where we faced the extreme conditions of spin. I am hoping in Sri Lanka [it] is not like that, but we must just be prepared."