South Africa skipper Bavuma thrilled his Tendulkar wish comes trueFri, 20 Oct 2023 14:04:54 GMT

Temba Bavuma said he would fulfil a cherished ambition on Saturday when he leads out South Africa in a World Cup match against England at the Wankhede Stadium, the home ground of his boyhood idol Sachin Tendulkar.One of the Mumbai venue’s most memorable moments came when it staged the 2011 World Cup final, with Tendulkar a member of the India side that defeated Sri Lanka to the delight of his adoring fans.South Africa captain Bavuma, an admirer of the batting great, told a pre-match press conference on Friday: “I think for me, growing up, idolising a guy like Sachin Tendulkar, the Wankhede was a stadium you always heard about. “So, to have that opportunity to be playing, that’s another tick off my list as a cricketer.”By contrast, South Africa’s Quinton de Kock, who has already made hundreds against Sri Lanka and Australia this World Cup, knows the Wankhede well from his time playing for the Mumbai Indians in the T20 Indian Premier League.”The guys that have played here, JP Duminy, Quinton, they’ve spoken about how it can be a batter’s paradise,” said opening batsman Bavuma.”You get value for your shots and the ball seems to travel further…If it is your day, you can fill your boots. “And I guess just the atmosphere of it all, it being a full ground, can really be something to enjoy.”Both sides head into Saturday’s match on the back of surprise losses with reigning champions England well beaten by Afghanistan and South Africa defeated by non-Test side the Netherlands.Nevertheless, the 33-year-old Bavuma said: “I think it could be one hell of a game if you’ve got two teams of this calibre who play close to their best.”- ‘X-factor Stokes’ -England star Ben Stokes is set to play his first match of the tournament after the star all-rounder missed the first three games with a hip injury.”A fully fit Ben Stokes obviously does strengthen the England team,” said Bavuma. “He is an X-factor player, he’s the guy that can change the course of the game…There’s a lot respect for him, we know what he can do.”South Africa were on course to make it three wins from three this World Cup when they reduced the Netherlands to 140-7 only for their opponents to finish on 245-8.A target of 246 should still have been within range for the Proteas but they were dismissed for 207.”We got them to 140-7 and then that’s where the wheels fell off,” said Bavuma. “I think we were put under pressure in the death period. And I think how we’ve bowled within the death hasn’t been at our best.”And then I think from a batting point of view, probably our biggest misdemeanour as the batters is that we took that negative energy from the field.”So, I think there’s specific areas that we’ve identified that we want to be better at.”