Perhaps in keeping with the theme that’s dominated his international career, Temba Bavuma on Wednesday night had to again defend his selection in the seven-wicket defeat to India in the second of three T20s.
With the first match being rained off, South Africa can’t win the series anymore.
The diminutive right-hander, on debut in the format, scored an accomplished 49 at No 3, but not a lot of credit ended up his way because of that innings eating up all of 43 deliveries.
ALSO READ: Plodding Proteas outclassed by classy Kohli
“I don’t see myself as a selfish person,” Bavuma said after journalists queried the tempo of his innings.
“I always try to put the team ahead of my own personal objectives. I don’t think I had to find a balance between my own goals and the teams’ in this game.”
The 30-year-old has a point.
Bavuma had been a perfect foil for skipper Quinton de Kock during the early part of South Africa’s innings.
He rotated the strike and feasted on some loose deliveries from Hardik Pandya before the dynamic De Kock’s dismissal, allied to some skillful seam bowling saw him lose momentum.
Shortly afterwards, Rassie van der Dussen also lost his wicket, putting Bavuma in an unenviable situation: he had to repair and attack.
Doing both simply isn’t his game.
“I think if you look at the way I went out at the end (an attacking pull that was mistimed and caught on the boundary) was an indication that I was putting the team’s interests first,” said Bavuma.
“For me, these interests aren’t difficult to balance, but for other players it is a challenging thing, especially when it’s your debut.
“You know the opportunities might be limited and you want to make use of them. But putting the team first will always serve you well.”
However, he was willing to admit that the Proteas probably did lose their grip on the game in the latter half of the innings, exemplified by only 36 runs being scored in the last six overs.
“When David Miller came in in the 13th over, I felt we were still in a strong position. But we probably did fumble with our batting during that period.
“We just couldn’t get going. I was also to blame. It’s something we can work on, yet I don’t think we were totally outplayed.”