Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent for South Africa and women's cricket
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Three days before their World Cup semi-final against Australia, South Africa were given a potential boost, as their captain Temba Bavuma took full part in an optional training session, at Eden Gardens, on Monday.
Bavuma ran a couple of laps around the outfield, before doing some fitness drills under the watchful eye of the team physiotherapist Sizwe Hadebe and the strength and conditioning coach Runeshan Moodley. He then proceeded to do some shuttle runs, increasing the pace with each lap, and then moved to running drills as he moved forward and backwards. While Bavuma occasionally looked uncomfortable and bent over with his hand on his sides, he did not appear to be at any unease while running. The South Africa captain was seen with a bit of a strapping on his thigh.
Later in the session, Bavuma padded up and shadow batted with a stump before having a lengthy conversation with coach Rob Walter. After watching Rassie van der Dussen for a while, Bavuma then padded up and went into a net, where he spent around 50 minutes batting. He even advanced down the track to hit a few balls.
"Temba's right hamstring strain has shown good objective signs of improvement over the last 72 hours," said a statement from the South African medical team. " We will continuously assess his progress through the management plan over the next few days towards giving him the best chance to play on Thursday." They also clarified that the work Bavuma was putting in on Monday was not for a fitness test but merely "part of the rehabilitation strategies of the recovery plan."
Bavuma had suffered a hamstring injury during South Africa's league game against Afghanistan in Ahmedabad last week. He left the field after nine balls of the first innings, and returned four overs later but limped as he fielded - mostly at mid-off. He chased balls gingerly and hobbled as he jogged to talk to his bowlers but did not go off again, with his role as opening batter in mind. Had Bavuma spent significant time off the field, he would have only been allowed to bat after the same amount of time had elapsed or until at least five batters had been dismissed, which he did not want to do as he searches for form. To date, Bavuma has a top score of 35 at the tournament, and scored 23 against Afghanistan.
CSA had said on Sunday that Bavuma had "shown an improvement" overnight, and that he had not been sent for scans, but did not give an official update on his current condition.
If Bavuma is unable to play the semi-final, Aiden Markram is likely to captain South Africa - as he did when Bavuma missed the England and Bangladesh games with illness - while Reeza Hendricks could open the batting.