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Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma doesn’t understand why he's been pigeonholed as a Test specialist

Temba Bavuma feels very strongly about the tendency to pigeonhole players.
Temba Bavuma feels very strongly about the tendency to pigeonhole players.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma says he has always enjoyed playing limited overs cricket and doesn’t understand why he has been pigeonholed as a Test specialist.

Bavuma scored a polished 98 off 103 balls and was part of a match-winning second wicket partnership of 173 with Quinton de Kock in the seven wicket win over World Champions England in the first ODI in Cape Town on Tuesday.

His impressive performance at Newlands has pushed his average to 86.33 after only three innings in this format, after he scored a century on debut against Ireland at Willowmoore Park in 2016.

He also has played in two T20s against India in Mohali and Bengaluru last year but most of his opportunities have been in the Test arena where he has featured in 40 matches.

“I think there are a lot of players out there who’ve fallen under that category where they’ve kind of been pigeonholed, seen as just one format type of players,” said the 29-year-old Bavuma.

“I guess that’s just how it is in the media because someone has to write a story about someone, but I have never entertained the idea that I am just a red-ball player.

“I have always enjoyed T20 and ODI cricket as much as I have enjoyed Test cricket. It just happened that most of my opportunities came in red-ball cricket.”

The other person who has spoken strongly against the phenomenon of pigeonholing players is Dean Elgar, who has played eight ODIs in contrast to the 63 opportunities he has received in Test matches.

“I think it is bulls**t to have someone pigeonhole a player and everyone goes with it. It is unfair‚ very unfair. I don’t box myself as a red-ball player,” Elgar said in 2018 when he was asked about a lack of opportunities in the shorter formats.

After three ODIs, Bavuma has already scored 259 runs but he doesn’t think that he has secured a spot in the team that is building up to the 2023 World Cup in India.

“I don’t think that I have nailed down a spot in the ODI side now,” he said. “You must remember that I have only played three matches in four years, but I am just happy to be on the field.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen after this series against England. For me, it’s just to enjoy the little moments that I have in this point in time and just keep doing my best.”

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