Men’s ODI WC: South Africa’s Bavuma excited to play at idol Sachin Tendulkar’s home ground

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma is excited to play at the home ground of his idol, Sachin Tendulkar in World Cup 2023.

Mumbai: South Africa captain Temba Bavuma is excited to play at the Wankhede Stadium, the home ground of his idol, Sachin Tendulkar, and is hoping that his team gets inspired by this and puts it across England in their ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 encounter in Mumbai on Saturday.

“Yeah, I think for me, growing up, idolising a guy like Sachin Tendulkar, 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,” said Bavuma during a pre-match press conference here on Friday.

Bavuma has also spoken to his teammates who have played at the iconic Wankhede ground and got knowledge of the pitch and other conditions.

“The guys that have played here, JP Duminy, Quinton (de Kock), they’ve spoken about how it can be a batter’s paradise. You get value for your shots and the ball seems to travel further.

“So, I think as batters it can build a lot of confidence. And if it is your day, you can fill your boots. And I guess just the atmosphere of it all, it being a full ground, it can really be something to enjoy. I think our real assessment will happen on the day. We’ll see what’s happening there, and then try to put our best foot forward,” Bavuma said.

South Africa has one of the better batting lineups in this World Cup. Yet, it succumbed to a specific plan of spin against them adopted by the Netherlands. Bavuma said the tactics did surprise him but felt his batters had to adapt to the situation whatever it was.

“Yeah, look it definitely surprised some of us, that tactic of theirs with the spin. Understanding that the wicket supposedly wasn’t favourable towards spin,” he said.

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“With that being said, we had to adapt. Some of us were able to, some of us weren’t able to adapt. We know England have also employed that, sometimes bowling the off-spinner at the top, so that’s something that we’re expecting, whether they go that route. But yeah, it did take some of us by surprise in terms of Netherlands’ tactic to keep going longer with the spin and power play,” he added.

Bavuma is also wary of the return to action of Ben Stokes, who is likely to play on Saturday.

“Yeah, I think a fully fit Ben Stokes does strengthen the England team. He is an X-Factor player. He is the guy that can change the course of the game. He’s someone that we’ve covered in our preparation. We know we’re going to have to be at the top of our game to get him unstuck. We have a lot of respect for him, Ben Stokes. We know what he can do, but we’ll prepare for him as well as we can,” he added.

South Africa will also be banking on opener Quinton De Kock, who has played at the Wankhede for Mumbai Indians and hoping that he will continue with his superb form in the World Cup.

“Yeah, his experience is immense. In our batting chat today, we basically listened to him. He gave the batting chat as to what the conditions are like, and what to expect. I mean, for at least a player like myself, who’s never played here, you feed off that type of information, that type of intel. And I think obviously with him having the good start, like you said, he’ll be looking to build on that. And I’m sure if it’s his day if the conditions allow, I’m sure he’ll take it with both hands,” said Bavuma.

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