Temba puts up his hand to fill crucial No 4 slot in Test batting lineup for Proteas

Cape Town - Temba Bavuma says he will put his hand up to fill the vacant number four position in the Proteas Test batting line-up now that AB de Villiers has retired from international cricket.

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The Proteas, who go to Sri Lanka for two Tests, five ODIs and one T20I next month, were rocked by the sudden decision by De Villiers to call time on his international career last month.

The 28-year-old Bavuma batted at number four in one of the four games in the Test series in England in 2016, scoring 46 and 12, and is keen to do the job again.

Bavuma said at the Proteas camp in Pretoria: "I will be opportunistic because there is a spot open for someone to come in at number four and I am putting up my hand for that position.

"Hopefully the selectors are looking towards me but if not wherever they want me to play I will try to execute as best as possible.

"There is going to be an opportunity for someone to put up their hand. I had the opportunity in England and I quite enjoyed it even though it was a tough Test match and series.

"I enjoyed the responsibility and in a way it is something that could help my game because I have not been able to convert most of my starts.

"Coming in at number four, the opportunity is there to score those big runs and it goes hand in hand with what I am trying to achieve.

"But the decision rests with the selectors, the coach and the captain."

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Looking ahead to the two Tests in Sri Lanka, starting in Galle on 12 July, Bavuma knows the Proteas batsmen will need to adapt their games to face plenty of spin bowling.

Bavuma has never played in Sri Lanka but did has a taste of sub-continent conditions when he played a Test in India, as an opener, in 2015.

The 29-Test capped batsman said: "Playing on the sub-continent is different from playing here at home because spin becomes a key thing.

"You must be able to rotate off the spin and also to hit boundaries. It is about familiarising yourself to the challenges where the ball will be spinning and you must have a game plan for that.

"I have never been to Sri Lanka but I will try to make it a good one for myself and the team."