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Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma will lead the team at the T20 World Cup. Picture: RYAN WILKISKY/BACKPAGEPIX
Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma will lead the team at the T20 World Cup. Picture: RYAN WILKISKY/BACKPAGEPIX

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma will face bowlers in a net batting session at the team’s base in Abu Dhabi on Friday for the first time in more than a month since he injured his thumb in the first of the six-match limited-overs series against Sri Lanka early in September.

Bavuma started batting in the nets 10 days ago after successful surgery on his thumb.

The captain has not faced seam bowlers since arriving in the United Arab Emirates on October 4 but expects to be fit for the T20 World Cup to be staged from October 17 to November 14 in the Middle East country.

“I had a good batting session today and I am definitely improving by the day,” said the 31-year-old Langa-born Bavuma at his captain’s media conference in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“My hand is getting stronger and I am getting a lot more comfortable with it, and tomorrow will be the first time I am having a live net session facing bowlers.”

Facing fast bowlers for the first time in over a month is always going to be challenging for any batter, and Bavuma is no different.

He said he is going through mixed emotions ahead of Friday’s net session but is happy with his grip on the bat.

“What I am trying to get out of it is to get comfort with my hand and with what I can do, and I guess make peace with what I can’t do.”

Bavuma was hit on his right thumb during the first of the drawn three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in Colombo in September and subsequently missed the three-match T20 series, which the Proteas won 3-0. However fears that he was not going to be fit for the World Cup have now been laid to rest.

“I am looking forward to that, and I guess that will give me a better indication of how far I have progressed.

“At the moment, everything is still on track and I am looking forward to playing in the warm-up matches. I am feeling good and taking it day by day.”

Bavuma said the Proteas are expecting worn-out pitches as a result of the traffic due to the Indian Premier League (IPL) being played on the same pitches for the World Cup.

Bavuma said batters can expect a tough time.

“The wicket has seemed to be a bit tougher for the batters and it seems as if guys will really have to be smart, think on their feet and adjust accordingly.

“We don’t know what state the wickets will be in with all the traffic on them. The biggest thing for us is to try to make assessments on the day.”

The Proteas have a warm-up match against Afghanistan on October 18 and  will start their World Cup campaign against Australia in Abu Dhabi on October 23.

The team will play the West Indies on October 26 in Dubai and against the two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers on October 30 and November 2 before a confrontation with England in Sharjah on November 6.​


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