IN THE absence of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla‚ Temba Bavuma is set to make his one-day international debut opening the batting for the Proteas against Ireland on Sunday.
Veteran Amla was not included in the squad to play Ireland and Australia in a triangular contest, as he awaits the birth of his third child next week.
The 33-year-old Amla‚ who opens the batting in the one-day format‚ is expected to join the Proteas squad later next week, ahead of the five-match one-day series against the Aussies.
De Villiers is out of Sunday’s game with an elbow injury.
"AB will unfortunately miss the Ireland game‚" Proteas team doctor Mohammed Moosajee confirmed on Thursday.
"About six weeks ago, he was diagnosed with a left elbow injury. At the time, the recommendation was specifically to have a period of rest‚ physiotherapy and aggressive rehabilitation," Moosajee said.
"He has subsequently seen an elbow specialist and he has what we commonly call an impingement syndrome — so what happens is that when he places a certain cricket shot he gets excruciating pain in that elbow."
De Villiers will be re assessed next week and should he not pass a fitness test and have to undergo surgery‚ he could miss the one-day series as well as Test series in Australia in November.
"If he does not come through the fitness test‚ then a date for surgery will be set," Moosajee said. "If he does go for surgery, then we are looking at another period of six to eight weeks of rest."
While De Villiers’s injury is cause for concern for Russell Domingo‚ the Proteas coach is confident there are players who can do an equally good job with the bat.
Domingo confirmed that Bavuma will open the batting against Ireland‚ possibly with Quinton de Kock. "[Bavuma] will open the batting on Sunday‚" Domingo said. "Look‚ I think Temba has some really good attributes of an opener.
"He is excellent in terms of his technique: he is a guy who can bat for periods of time; he can hit the bad ball for four," Domingo said.
"At this stage of his [one-day] career he is not suited to come in at No5 or No6‚ trying to hit fours and sixes at the back of an innings.
"I’m very excited to see what he can offer. He’s had a really good start to his Test career; hopefully, he can add something different to our [one-day] batting as well.
"He is obviously not an easy guy to bowl to because of his stature‚ so he might just give us a good score up front."