South Africa’s white-ball skipper talks about being given the role, focussing on his batting and the Betway ODI series against India in his latest interview. 

I want to take South Africa back to the top

It all occurred pretty swiftly for Temba Bavuma, when Faf du Plessis stepped down from the South Africa leadership in early 2021, Quinton de Kock was given the reins in all three forms.

And, while the Test leadership always appeared likely to be a short-term arrangement for De Kock, there was little reason to assume that the limited-overs role may be up for grabs.

That was until March, when Bavuma was abruptly named captain of both the Proteas’ 50-over and T20 sides. 

It wasn’t anything that I was expecting,” Bavuma admits. “There was clearly anxiousness and trepidation as to how I was going to lead the squad forward to new heights.

“The adventure is still new with the white-ball teams, I must add. But I’ve loved it so far.”

The appointment was historic as Bavuma became the first ever black captain of a South Africa cricket team. 

The rationale for his hiring, meanwhile, was owing to his familiarity inside the setup and strong connection with some of his team-mates. “I was lucky in that most of the people, particularly the older ones, I’ve played with from school level,” he adds. “We understand each other and, most importantly, the respect is there.

“We’re lucky to have a number of legends from the past that I can rely upon as well. JP Duminy was part of the team’s T20 coaching staff and contributed to the team’s intelligence. He’s got a wonderful mind, and I used it to brainstorm with him.”

In addition, he has the capacity to infuse his own personality into a squad that he didn’t expect to inherit. Because of this, Bavuma asserts, it is harder for someone to be influenced by what others think of them.

“I pride myself on being open and honest, while simultaneously being focused on moving the team ahead,” he says. Since he took the position, there have been noticeable improvements, notably in the Twenty20 format.

West Indies, Ireland, and Sri Lanka all won three-match 3-0 series victory, paving the way for South Africa’s triumph at the T20 World Cup, which they won in relative obscurity.

At that competition, they didn’t make it farther than the Super 12, but in four of their five games, they won, which would have been enough to get them into the semi-finals anyway.

Bavuma’s results came swiftly, but he had a hard time juggling his day job as a run-scorer with being the team’s captain.

It took him five innings against the West Indies and Ireland before he got his footing in the middle order and went on to score 91 runs at an average of over 30 throughout the World Cup.

His advice: “Make sure your mind is fresh before attempting a combination of the two. “The captaincy may clog up your thoughts,” he said. You don’t want to get caught up in a mental game, which is simple to do.

A few days before the game, I like to put in the extra effort.” For Friday games, I will put in the time on Monday or Tuesday before your game. At this point, your attention shifts from physical to mental preparation. In order to achieve your goals, it’s essential to be crystal-clear about what you want to do. After that, everything else may be thrown away.”

As a batsman who doesn’t have the same power game as many of the world’s finest white-ball cricketers, having a clear head is essential. Bavuma must be secure in his job as a ball timer and manipulator, and that he is not obstructing the power hitters from occupying the crease when it matters most.

Bavuma acknowledges that he takes his cues from one of South Africa’s all-time great hitters, Hansie Cronje. He credits Hashim Amla as a major source of inspiration. Before joining the team, “He had never played T20 cricket before, but his adaptability allowed him to play in the format.”

Following South Africa’s thrilling 2-1 Test series triumph in which Bavuma played a key role in both of South Africa’s victorious run chases, the focus now shifts to India’s white-ball trip.

It was only in April of last year that Bavuma won his maiden home ODI series as captain against Pakistan. However, he believes that this is the beginning of his period on home soil.

In the last several years, India has consistently outperformed us, and we’re anxious to build on that Test series victory. ” With some of the top players in the world, they should do well no matter what the circumstances.

It is clear to us that there is a cricketing rivalry between the two teams. You want to be a part of these series and take on these opponents.

This series offers them the opportunity to show that they have already accomplished their goal under Bavuma’s leadership.


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