Question marks have been raised over Faf du Plessis' lower middle-order slot in a struggling South Africa batting line-up in India but as per former captain Graeme Smith, the current skipper is being forced to do so in an effort to try and promote Temba Bavuma.
While there is no doubt in anyone's mind that Du Plessis is technically the most capable batsman in the Proteas rank, the 35-year-old has yet batted either at No.5 or No.6 in the three innings this series thus far with Bavuma positioned higher up at No.4.
Bavuma's place in the side has long been in question with many believing the right-hand batsman continues to play because of the need to fill in the racial quotas that the South African government mandated.
Proteas must field six non-white players, including two black Africans, in each of their playing XI across all formats of the game. The rule is also applicable at the domestic level and has played a major role in the talent exodus the South African cricket currently suffers from.
The accusation against Bavuma is not helped by his poor numbers; just 1,734 runs at a below-par average of 32.1 with only one hundred after 37 Tests.
"I do think du Plessis is under pressure to give Bavuma more responsibility," Smith could be heard during his stint from the commentary box on Day 3 of the Pune Test where South Africa collapsed badly in response to India's mammoth first innings total of 601/5(declared).
Bavuma made just 8 in the first innings in Pune while Faf scored another valiant half-century.