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SA20 player auction snub not to affect me in series vs India, asserts SA skipper Bavuma

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 28 (IANS) South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma has said he is unfazed by the recent snub at the inaugural SA20 Player Auction where he went unsold, adding that he had put those things behind him and is looking forward to the series against India and the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next month.

Bavuma and fellow South Africa cricketer Andile Phehlukwayo, who are both part of the touring 17-member party to India for the white-ball series, had reserve price of 850,000 rand each, but both went unsold this month ahead of the inaugural season of the latest domestic league scheduled be held early next year.

“I have tried to put those things (going unsold) behind me. My biggest focus is on the role I have and to serve the team as best as I can,” Bavuma was quoted as saying by supersport.com ahead of the opening T20I against India to be played later on Wednesday.

“I need to make sure the guys are in the best place possible for the (T20) World Cup. All the other distractions and sideshows, that’s something I’ll deal with on a personal level, but now being with the team (is the most important thing). As I’m wearing the (South Africa) shirt, it’ll be up to me to lead the team as best as I can,” Bavuma said.

Bavuma will likely open the batting with Quinton de Kock, with Reeza Hendricks, likely to drop to No. 3, if he is included in the XI. The skipper added that he has no distractions whatsoever and all his energy was focused on the T20 World Cup preparations.

“My focus is on the team, I’m still the captain and I’ll lead and serve the team as best as I can,” Bavuma said.

The three-match T20I series will be followed by a three-match ODI series with 30 World Cup Super League points at stake counting towards automatic qualification for the 50-over World Cup to be held in India next year.

Bavuma also felt the T20I series against India will provide the ideal preparation for their World Cup in Australia.

“We’re expecting it to be a good series, a competitive one, as it always is when we play India,” he said. “The last time we were here, we were tested and challenged in all departments of our game and I think we answered those challenges quite well. So I expect a good, strong and competitive series.”

The side played out a 2-2 series draw when visiting India earlier in the year, the only T20I series in the last six they haven’t come away with victory.

The Proteas will be confident heading into the T20 World Cup as their squad has been bolstered by the return of Rilee Roussouw at the top of the order, and with the emergence of young batting star Tristan Stubbs.

“We have guys who have been playing a lot of cricket and I guess we will be managing their intensity,” he added. “We also have guys who need some cricket under their belts. It will be to give those guys some game time because this is our last preparation in different conditions compared to Australia but still match time nevertheless,” said Bavuma.

India are coming off a 2-1 series win over Australia, with veteran batter Virat Kohli among others finding form.

“As you would have seen in the last while their confidence has boosted the performances of the team. We expect them to obviously come on and lead from the front, which is good practice for the team. It will be good for us to come up against their best. We expect those guys to bring a lot of confidence and X-factor into their team,” he said.

–IANS

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