Cape Town — The Proteas continue to monitor Temba Bavuma, out of favour and out of form, as preparations for Thursday’s third Test against England in Port Elizabeth continue.
Bavuma will not feature in that match as he continues his run-scoring efforts with the Lions in the 4-Day Franchise Series, but Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe believes it will not be long before Bavuma is back in the national mix.
Nkwe was addressing media at St. George’s Park on Tuesday, opening up on his new role having served as the acting head coach on the side’s tour to India over August and September.
He has since settled into life under newly-appointed head coach Mark Boucher and is excited about the future, but given the time he has spent with Bavuma while head coach at the Lions and then in the national set-up, it wasn’t long before Nkwe was asked to talk about the man who was his vice-captain in that India Test series.
“We’ve been keeping very close with Temba Bavuma,” Nkwe said.
“I strongly believe that he is a good player.
“He’s in the process of making sure that from a mental, emotional and skills point of view, that when he gets that chance to come back in the next Test match or in a different format, that he comes back in and takes ownership of his position and delivers 10 times more than what he has done.
“We are really confident, and we believe in him, and I know for sure that Boucher feels the same.”
Bavuma is expected to be included in the squad for the three ODIs against England that will follow the Test series, but Nkwe believes the 29-year-old will add to his 39 Test caps too.
More than that, Nkwe thinks Bavuma has what it takes to make the step up even further and skipper this side once Faf du Plessis (35) steps away from the game.
At present, there are no obvious candidates in terms of the Test captaincy post-Du Plessis, but Nkwe has seen enough from Bavuma to be convinced.
“Hopefully in the future he performs well enough and he can lead the team,” said Nkwe.
“I know, having worked with him, he’s a very strong leader and very smart. He’s able to lead a massive group of people to greater heights.”
When asked bluntly if he viewed Bavuma as a future captain, Nkwe was equally firm.
“In my mind, yes I do,” he said.
“I can see that happening, but he does understand that he needs to put in some performances.
“Having worked with him in the last year and a half, he’s got the qualities. There is no question about that.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, after Faf or after whoever, he takes over and that would be great for South African cricket.”
Bavuma, meanwhile, has carded scores of 9 and 17 in his last two innings for the Lions since dropping out of the Proteas.
Play on Thursday starts at 10:00.