Temba Bavuma would love to open the batting alongside Brendon McCullum in the T20 Global League for the Joburg Giants.
But as far as copying the Kiwi’s swashbuckling style goes, that’s not how South Africa’s gutsy middle-order Test batsman goes about his cricket.
Big-hitting marquee players like McCullum, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and David Miller will be among the star attractions when the league gets underway on November 3, but a team’s success is often decided by how well the batsmen around those stars set up the game for them.
Bavuma is able to score boundaries with ‘normal’ cricket shots and is very good at rotating the strike.
“One must understand that there are 11 positions in a cricket team and not all cricketers play the same way, they all bring their own thing to the side. You get the batsmen with x-factor who can clear the boundaries, but then you have the other guys who create the foundation for those batsmen to come in and hit the ball,” Bavuma said.
“I think that’s the role I’ll play for the Joburg Giants, not trying to emulate Brendon but do what I do, which will allow him and Colin Ingram and Chris Jonker to bat effectively as well. In terms of T20 cricket, I’ve always seen myself as a middle-order batsman and I’ve been relatively successful at that, but I’ll probably play a role up front for the Giants, looking at who we’ve signed.
“I will embrace that and welcome the opportunity because as a batsman you want to be near the top in T20 so that you can bat for the bulk of the overs. I do feel I have the necessary skills to open the batting, but I won’t change my game, I’ll just do what has served me well in the domestic game.”
Bavuma is now a Cape Cobras player, but the Joburg Giants have signed him and another local darling in Kagiso Rabada to ensure the people of Johannesburg get behind their team.
“I was born in Cape Town, but everything in terms of cricket happened for me in Johannesburg, so it has a large part of my heart. It will be a massive pleasure to once again represent the people of Johannesburg,” Bavuma said.