South Africa white-ball skipper Temba Bavuma believes the Test team under Dean Elgar has absorbed the loss of pace bowler Duanne Olivier for the three-Test series against England beginning later on Wednesday, adding Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje should more than make up for the absence of the key bowler.
Right-arm fast bowler Olivier was ruled out of the Test series due to a grade two right hip flexor muscle tear. Olivier sustained the injury during South Africa's four-day tour match against England Lions.Bavuma, who has 51 Test caps to his name, added the South Africa team management would have known by now whether pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada has recovered from the ankle injury and would be available for the opening Test at Lord's or not.
"It's unfortunate with Duanne Olivier being out injured because he has plenty of experience playing in county cricket. Meanwhile, Kagiso Rabada's availability is still fitness-pending but I'm sure they should know by now what they're going to look to do with him.
If you have a guy like him in your bowling attack, you know he's going to be the leader of it. He's not going to leave anything behind, will lead from the front and give all the fireworks he can," said Bavuma in his column for supersport.com on Wednesday.
"I'm not privy to the finer details of KG's (Rabada) injury but he's a different beast. If there's a sniff of a chance of him playing, he'll push for the opportunity."Bavuma felt, the like of Ngidi, Nortje and Jansen can lend solidity to the pace attack, despite the absence of Olivier.
"The coach (Mark Boucher) and captain (Dean Elgar) will decide who the other guys are and how they want to pair them up. Lungi Ngidi has been bowling fantastically well in the white-ball stuff and there is the tall, left-arm option in the form of Marco Jansen.
The Proteas have Anrich Nortje as well who is bowling rockets at the moment. Along with our two spinners, those are the three main seamers we would probably choose from."There are good back-up options in Lutho Sipamla and Glenton Stuurman who can swing and nip the ball around but, from an experience point of view, they are probably not likely to start in the first Test, he added.
Bavuma said there shouldn't be too much expectation from the new opening combination of Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee, given that they have been in the role for a very short time."The combination of Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee is a new opening pair and you've got to give it time to build.
"A series win in England would go a long way in allowing us to retain our place atop the ICC World Test Championship. As much as we are there at No 1 in the test arena, as a team, we understand that we are still building towards something.
We don't want short-term success because that can evaporate at any time. We would like to solidify what we are building within the team in terms of the culture and the language that we speak. And we know that if we do that, the results will take care of themselves."