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Du Plessis shields Bavuma from Pietersen criticism

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has come out in defense of middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma after he received criticism from SuperSport guest commentator and former England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

Temba Bavuma and Faf du Plessis during the Test against Pakistan on 4 January 2019. Picture: Twitter/OfficialCSA

JOHANNESBURG - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has come out in defense of middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma after he received criticism from SuperSport guest commentator and former England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

The Durban born Pietersen criticised Bavuma for not converting his scores of 50 into Test match hundreds, after the diminutive batsman was out for 75 in the Proteas first innings in the 9-wicket thrashing of Pakistan in the second Test match at Newlands in Cape Town.

“Temba will be the first person to tell you that over his career he has had opportunities to go on and score 100’s when the wickets were good enough to cash-in on. But Temba has scored vital runs for us when we were in deep trouble in the last two years," said Du Plessis.

The captain, who will miss the third and final Test at the Wanderers starting on 11 January due to suspension for maintaining a slow over rate in the Newlands Test win, further highlighted the importance of Bavuma’s runs for the national side, especially in the ongoing series against the Pakistanis.

“Two Test matches in a row now he has scored runs on tough pitches. He showed that if you can apply yourself mentally and you have a technique, there is always a way.”

Du Plessis also said that there is still much room for improvement for Bavuma and he is a key member of the South African batting unit.

“Temba is a very motivated cricketer. There is progress he wants to make in order to make those big 100’s and cash in when he is well set and trust me Temba is working very hard on that.”