In a week’s time, Temba Bavuma will lead the Proteas into battle in the first T20 of a three-match series against India at Thiruvananthapuram, giving him an early opportunity to strike back at all the doubters and prove that his omission from the SA20 squads was a mistake.
National white-ball captain Bavuma failed to muster a bid in three attempts at the auction in Cape Town, despite, or perhaps because of, going in with a reserve price of R850 000.
The shock snub led to practically all the franchise coaches being quizzed about just how the player who will lead South Africa into the T20 World Cup next month had managed to lose out on a spot in the six franchises to play in the SA20 next January.
They seemed as nonplussed as the media.
“Just because you’re a good player in South Africa, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be recognised around the world,” was the telling comment from Durban Super Giants coach Lance Klusener when he was asked about the omission of Bavuma and Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.
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“I’m sure Temba and Andile feel the same as the other players who weren’t sold. But it was brutal out there and there was a lot of competition.”
MI Cape Town coach, Simon Katich, the former Australian batsman, also put Bavuma’s absence down to competition for places.
“It’s a tough one, but there are plenty of good players who missed out because there was a lot of competition. And there was a lot of overseas competition for certain spots,” Katich said.
While Bavuma has proven his star quality in Test and ODI cricket, his strike-rate of 120.60 in T20 Internationals and 124.67 domestically is considered weak for the format.
But the often bizarre nature of T20 auctions was shown in how the franchises were willing to pay a dear price for Donovan Ferreira, the Northerns batsman who is an almost complete unknown overseas, but managed to fetch R5.5 million from Joburg Super Kings in the first express set of bids towards the end of the auction.
Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming seems a fan though.
“Donovan is relatively young, explosive and dynamic and he can keep wicket as well. I thought it would be a nice, easy buy, but the bidding got my heart beating.
“He was the last key position we needed, our last throw of the dice and we only just got him. Hopefully that effort will pay off for us.
“You usually can get some very good buys at the end and in the end it was a good day for us. The challenge is you set up your budget, but then you get blown out of the water on one of your prizes,” Fleming said.
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