SA20 commissioner Graeme Smith clarified that they have no say over the selection decisions of the league franchises after the national team's white-ball captain Temba Bavuma went unsold at the auction. The former South African opener sympathized with Bavuma and said it was disappointing to see him attract no buyers.
Bavuma is the only member of the 15-man T20 World Cup squad going unsold apart from Andile Phehlukwayo, one of the traveling reserves. The right-handed batter found no takers among the six franchises despite going under the hammer twice for his base price of R850,000.
Smith, one of the most successful Protea captains, admitted that several players missed out. However, he denied any influence over such decisions as the buyers are international entities.
Smith told News24:
"There are so many players that missed out but there were also some great stories that came out. Obviously, the one disappointment that stood out to everybody was Temba.
"We’re disappointed but we don’t get involved in that. These are international entities building businesses in South Africa, building grassroots programmes and investing massively into South African cricket. As the league, we don’t get involved with that decision-making. It’s independent of SA20."
It's worth noting that Bavuma doesn't have particularly great numbers in limited-overs cricket. The right-handed batter, who missed the England tour, has played 25 ODIs and managed only 562 runs, striking at 126.76 with a solitary half-century. In 100 T20s, the Cape Town-born batter has churned 2289 runs at 30.52 with a hundred and eight fifties.
"It’s very difficult for us to know the strategies of the teams" - Graeme Smith
Smith revealed that he had no idea why Bavuma failed to garner any bids and said that he was unaware of the requirements of the franchises. He also hopes the limited-overs skipper will take cues from this snub and score heavily.
"I don’t know. It’s very difficult for us to know the strategies of the teams and what type of player they are looking for. They are global franchises and very experienced in the T20 format.
"Even in the IPL, you get a lot of players that you expect to get picked but don’t. We’re disappointed for Temba, and we hope that he takes this as an opportunity to prove people wrong and goes and gets tons of runs and shows his work."
South Africa's middle-order batter Tristan Stubbs became the most expensive player at the auction, fetching Rand 9.2 million from the SunRisers Eastern Cape.