Will Bavuma, Abbott get an opportunity?

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For one thing, they have a bench that has been largely unused, with spinner Dane Piedt, batsman Temba Bavuma and Kyle Abbott all limited to bit-part roles on the tour.

Abbott, who was flown in as a replacement for Vernon Philander on the eve of the second Test, played in Bangalore, but that was restricted to just one day.

All three of the squad players are young enough to come back to India at some point in their careers, on another major Test tour. It would not be the worst idea in the world to blood at least a couple of them now, though, not only for experience, but for some fresh energy in the side.

A couple of the newer men in the playing side have become increasingly wearied by the challenge of playing on foreign – make that alien – conditions, and a break would not be the worst thing for them, so they can take stock ahead of the England series.

Opener Stiaan van Zyl has comprehensively lost his personal battle to Ravichandran Ashwin, with the Indian tweaker going as far as saying that his hold over Van Zyl has become mental. That is no place for an opener to be, and Van Zyl could do with a break from it all.

His place could be taken by Lions’ batsmen Temba Bavuma, who has had regular cameos on the field, but must be itching to get a chance. The last time he played for South Africa in a Test, in Bangladesh, he dug the side out of a mini-crisis, with his maiden half-century at this level.

While the level of opposition, and the nature of conditions, is vastly different from Chittagong to Delhi, Bavuma has shown himself to be a capable player of spin, it becomes increasingly questionable to not make changes when a side is regularly struggling in one department.

In the bowling ranks, Abbott may be an option to replace young Kagiso Rabada, who has shouldered the workload more than anyone would have anticipated ahead of this tour. The young tearaway was expected to play a big role in the limited-overs formats, and then possibly get a run in a test or two.

But, as things have worked out, he has played every single match on this trip, which must have taken a toll on his body, especially on tracks that have given little encouragement. With the England series in mind, a rest may well be in order, too.

These are considerations for the South African brains trust to mull over, and there may never be a better time to blood these youngsters. For one thing, the pressure is off, with the series gone.

The bigger picture, though, is that they will come back again, and they most likely will have to combat the very challenges that they will find in Delhi this week.

So, why not get acquainted now, rather than start afresh in a few years’ time?

The fourth and final Test between India and South Africa starts in Delhi on Thursday. - Cape Argus


With Test series lost, will the Proteass be tempted to give fringe players, Temba Bavuma and Kyle Abbott a run in the final Test in New Dehli?

Original source: Will Bavuma, Abbott get an opportunity?

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