Temba Bavuma, the Proteas’ under-fire skipper, is the center of attention as they prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia.
After returning from an elbow injury, Bavuma struggled in India, scoring three runs off 19 balls in three attempts at bat.
And, with Quinton de Kock returning to form with two half-centuries in a row, and David Miller and Rilee Rossouw hitting centuries in the last two games, the focus has shifted to Bavuma’s paucity of runs, especially with Reeza Hendricks still in the bench.
The Proteas, on the other hand, are firmly behind Bavuma, with Rossouw, who hit a career-best 100 not out off only 48 balls in Indore on Tuesday after being dismissed for two ducks in the previous two encounters, emphasizing their support for the skipper.
“We discussed it today… If someone is having a good day, they can bear the weight of someone who is out of shape. “As we saw tonight, it only takes one knock for Temba to be in the best shape of his life heading into the World Cup,” Rossouw remarked.
“I don’t think it has as much of an impact on the squad.” Yes, as a team, we simply need to be there for him, because this is something that every professional goes through. It’s about his skill and captaincy, and we wholeheartedly support him.”
Rossouw has scored 96 not out and an undefeated century in six innings since returning to international cricket after a self-imposed exile in Kolpak.
The speed with which Rossouw put prior failures behind him was a trademark of both innings, and the freedom with which he tackles his next knock has given a genuine X-factor to the Proteas’ batting line-up.
“First and foremost, it’s about form and confidence; I truly believe in my skill.” I’ve shown it all over the world, anywhere cricket is played, so it was never a matter of confidence for me, but rather of form.
According to Rossouw, “I think what got me in the mood was when that one shot when Quinny just stepped across, and he just hit it for six, got the momentum going, and made me believe tonight is going to be great.”
The muscular left-hander has previously experienced an ICC World Cup in Australasia, when the Proteas’ quest for the 50-over holy grail was ended in a thrilling Auckland semi-final against New Zealand in 2015.
Rossouw was devastated on that fatal night at Eden Park, but he will be hoping that seven years later, he can lead the Proteas to victory for the championship match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the forthcoming T20 World Cup.