CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa captain Temba Bavuma expects to be fit to lead the side at the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates as he continues to recover from a thumb injury.
The top-order batsman admits he is not 100% fit, but believes he will be ready for South Africa’s opening game against Australia on Oct. 23.
“I started batting a bit yesterday, just to feel it out,” Bavuma told reporters on Sunday. “According to the medical team, everything is still on schedule. I am quite happy with where it’s at. Everyone is happy with the progress thus far.”
Bavuma will be the first black African captain for South Africa at a World Cup.
He admits there is a mix of anxiety and excitement among the players, especially given the team’s past failings at major tournaments that have earned them a “choker” tag and a reputation for not being able to pull through in big moments.
“Looking at the position I am in, I acknowledge the responsibility when leaving South African shores,” he said.
“And the thinking that when you come back to South Africa, things could be different. Your life could be different.
“From a team point of view, it’s excitement and the anxiety of experiencing something you haven’t come across. But I think it’s more excitement at the moment.
“I don’t harp on a lot about being a Black African but it is quite significant, from all angles. Thinking about it now, it adds to the pressure that is already there.
“But it’s also a privilege that I believe I’ve been blessed to have. If the opportunity is there, and the team plays accordingly, we’d like to do something special for the country.”
(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)