Bavuma si­lences his crit­ics


The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Ken Bor­land

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.

Pic­ture: Backpagepi­x

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.

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