Bavuma silences his critics
BAVUMA SHOWS HE HAS WHAT IT TAKES AT ONE-DAY LEVEL
Time out from the Proteas gave recalled batsman space to reflect on his game.
Among a million different voices pontificating about his abilities and his role in transformation, Temba Bavuma just went away and regained his love for the game.
And it was that natural talent and passion that was clearly on display as his superb innings of 98 played a key role in South Africa beating England in the first ODI at Newlands on Tuesday night.
Playing in his first ODI since October 2017 and batting in the crucial number three position, Bavuma was all class, intent and skill as he shared a match-winning second-wicket stand of 173 off just 170 balls with new captain Quinton de Kock (107).
It was a glorious statement by the 29-year-old following the controversy surrounding his dropping from the Test side and subsequent recall for the last Test at the Wanderers, where he scored 6 and 27.
“A lot has happened, both good and bad, in the last month. At the end of the Mzansi Super League I never would have thought things would pan out this way, but the time away from the team gave me the chance to reflect and look at my game. I found the strength to keep chugging along and to enjoy the game again. I don’t know what’s going to happen next week, so I must just enjoy these moments.
“It was good to be out on the field, it might sound silly but it was good to run around again, I felt like a kid with no burdens, I was just enjoying the game.
“It has been hard – not so much being dropped, all players get dropped at some stage – but most uncomfortable was all the talk about transformation. Yes, I’m black, that’s my skin, but I play because I love it,” Bavuma said at Newlands after South Africa’s seven-wicket win.
Bavuma’s inclusion in the national team has become a hot topic, but there can be no doubting he is good enough to flourish at ODI level following his performance against the world champions. Especially since he came in after the cheap loss of Reeza Hendricks in the seventh over with the Proteas chasing 259 on an awkwardly slow pitch.
The diminutive Lions star admits he seems to play better under pressure and gives a chilly reception to those who wish to somehow determine the success or failure of transformation based on his performances.
“I made it into my franchise team and the national team because of my performances and I won’t be the last guy to get dropped either. In terms of the inspiring element for other black African batsmen, I try to take it in my stride. What irks me is if I do well, then transformation is not spoken about, but if I don’t do well then transformation is top of the agenda.
“You have to take the good with the bad and people should also speak about transformation when I am doing well. It’s how my career has panned out. I guess I find extra motivation in those tough situations.
“When the side is in trouble, that’s a big opportunity to stand up for the team. But I would also like to dominate when things are a bit easier,” Bavuma said.
SUPPORT. Temba Bavuma showed his critics that he is more than just a Test batsman as his 98 helped the Proteas to a comfortable win over England in the first ODI at Newlands on Tuesday night.