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I am here to take South Africa back at the top again says Temba Bavuma

Bavuma talks to Betway ahead of the ODI Series with India on various aspects of white ball captaincy, batting and taking South Africa back at the top.

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 20.01.2022
I am here to take South Africa back at the top again says Temba Bavuma

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In the very quick turn around of things at South Africa cricket, it all happened very quickly for Temba Bavuma.

 

When Faf du Plessis gave up the South Africa captaincy in early 2021, Quinton de Kock was made the captain in all three formats. As it was evident that de Kock will be leading the Test team only for a short term in the transition period but he is there to stay at the limited overs captaincy.

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In March,2021 , Suddenly Temba Bavuma was announced the captain for T20I and ODI sides. The South African team hasn’t been considered favorites amongst the online betting sites since the T20 world cup held later in 2021.

 

Bavuma talks to Betway ahead of the ODI Series with India and says “The captaincy also came to him as a surprise as he wasn’t expecting it and as for every newbee there was obviously anxiety and fear as to how I was going to take the team forward to new heights.”

 

The appointment is historic as he is the first ever black captain of the South African cricket team. The reason for his appointment was his close relationships with team mates and his experience.

 

He further added, “The journey is still young with the white-ball teams. But he is enjoying it so far. I am fortunate that most of the guys, especially the senior guys, I’ve played with from school level, and We understand each other and, most importantly, the respect is there.”

 

He said he spends a lot of time with Rabada, Quinton and Tabraiz Shamsi. These are very important players to the team and I want to build a good relationship with them.

 

He also hailed JP Duminy the South African legend, he was there in the T20 management camp and added brains to the team.

 

Currently, what’s more important for me is to stamp the authority on my own team which I didn't expect to inherit.

 

“I am spending more time getting to know myself these days. The better you know yourself, the less likely you are to be affected by what other people say about you. Working on where I can improve and not losing the focus from the team as well,” Bavuma says.

 

There are also signs of progress in the South African team, especially in T20 format. A 3-2 win away to then -world champions West Indies was followed by comprehensive 3-0 series victories in both Ireland and Sri Lanka, which set South Africa up nicely for their under-the-radar success at the T20 World Cup.

 

Talking about his individual performance he says, “It can be difficult to combine the two batting and captaincy. But this is the challenge, you have to make sure you are mentally fresh. The captaincy can clutter your mind and you definitely don’t want that.”

 

He also added, “I like to put the hard work in a few days out from the game. If you’re playing on a Friday, I’ll put the work in on Monday or Tuesday. And then the closer you get to the game, you focus more on the mental side.

“It’s so important to be clear with your plans and clear with what you want to do. Then anything else can just be discarded.”

Having a clear mind is very crucial, particularly as a batsman especially who doesn’t possess the power game that many of the world’s best white-ball cricketers do nowadays.

I have to be confident that, as a timer and manipulator of the ball, I have to be comfortable with my role in the side and not blocking the power batters from occupying the crease at crucial times.

As captain, that clarity in thinking becomes even more crucial.

“My skill set is different from David Miller. David is able to hit sixes from ball one. That isn’t my role in the side – I know what my strengths are.” He says

Bavuma admits that he follows the example set by one of the greatest ever South African batters.

“I take a lot of inspiration from Hashim Amla. When he first came into the system he wasn’t considered a classic T20 player but he was able to adapt his game.” He added

Focus now shifted to the white-ball leg of India’s tour following an enthralling 2-1 Test series victory that saw Bavuma help guide South Africa home in both successful run chases.

His first home series as ODI captain was last April against Pakistan, but he says that this feels like the true beginning of his era on home soil.

Taking on a side with such greatness will mean that there is no need for rousing team-talks in the days leading up to the series.

“The guys don’t need any more motivation. You’re coming up against a team like India. We’re desperate to build on that Test series win because India have generally had the better of us in recent years. They’ve got some of the best players on the planet who are likely to go well in all conditions.

“We understand the cricketing rivalry between the sides. These are series you want to be involved in and opponents you want to test yourselves against.

“We want to continue the journey towards being considered among the world’s best again.”

With results improving so quickly under Bavuma’s watch, this series gives them the chance to prove that they may have already achieved it. South Africa won the first ODI match of the series vs India. That certainly is one step further towards becoming the world’s best again.

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