South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said that his injured hand is showing improvement and is hopeful of being fit and available for their T20 World Cup opener against Australia in Abu Dhabi on October 23. Bavuma, who is recovering from a broken thumb sustained in Sri Lanka last month, will have his first "live net" on Friday.
"Everything is on track. I had a good batting session today. My hand is definitely improving by the day. It's getting stronger and I'm getting a lot more comfortable with it. It (his first live net session on Friday) will give me a better indication of how far I've progressed. What I'm trying to get out of it is comfort; to see what I can do and make peace with what I can't do," said Bavuma, who is likely to miss his team's warm-up games against Afghanistan on Monday and Pakistan on Wednesday.
“I can't say I am scared or anything like that. It's hard for me to give any emotions. It's just for me to get the necessary comfort and also to assess where I am."
The 31-year-old is one of the seven South African players who have never featured in the World Cup. "We had the opportunity to come in early and get through our quarantine, and we've had a couple of practice days. As soon as the warm-up games start, the intensity and the emotions around an event like this will start increasing. But at the moment we are relaxed."
He is hoping to open the batting along with Quinton de Kock or bat at No. 3 in the showpiece event. "My role is quite obvious and clear. I am someone to come in at the top, and if there is an opportunity to come in at No. 3, I will fill in that spot.
“As a batter, I'd like to be able to get on a nice wicket where you can hit through the line and throw your hands, but the general trend from looking at the IPL is that we won't have that luxury as batters. We will have to really graft out there. We will really have to be smart. Scores of 150-160 look like winning scores. As batters, we are going to have to dig deep.”
Bavuma also feels that Sharjah will offer the most challenging conditions. The Proteas are scheduled to play two of their five group games at this venue. Looking at the games played in Sharjah, it's been rather interesting. Wickets have been a bit tougher and guys have had to be smart, think on their feet and adjust accordingly. We don't know what state the wickets are going to be in. We expect the wickets to be a bit worn out. The biggest thing for us is to try and assess and adapt as quickly as we can on the day."
South Africa have won only one ICC tournament at senior level - 1998 International Cup in Bangladesh, which has evolved into the Champions Trophy. In their last 50-over World Cup in England in 2019, South Africa won only three of their eight games.
"We've accepted that those types of pressure will always be there until we bring back some sort of silverware, and we accept that. It's not something that we have to carry on our shoulders, especially this bunch of players."