Disappointment was written all over Temba Bavuma’s face as the South Africa limited-overs captain answered questions on how he has taken it all in after he went unsold at the SA20 player auction.
The leader of South Africa’s white-ball cricket was one of the players who found no takers at the inaugural SA20 auction in Cape Town on Monday, even after his name went into the accelerated round.
Bavuma’s snub shocked many in the country and overseas.
On Thursday, three days after his snub at the SA20 auction, a visibly disappointed Bavuma said he felt somewhat left in the lurch.
In an unusual and uncharacteristic low tone, Bavuma said:
Bavuma did not look well at all. He appeared as though he was coming down with a bout of flu, though nothing has been communicated by the team to this effect.
Another high-profile Proteas player who went unsold at the auction is all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, who will be travelling to the T20 World Cup in Australia next month as one of the three reserve players.
Bavuma was speaking from Cape Town, where the team has assembled ahead of their departure to India for a three-match T20 series and three-match ODI series.
“It’s not just me, Andile also, who has played for several years for South Africa in white-ball cricket. I feel almost let down. This is not an entitlement, as you want to be selected on merit or whatever credentials you have. But, I also must cushion myself from climbing too deep into it. It is probably not the right time. Our focus now is on India and the T20 World Cup.”
South Africa and India will use the T20 and ODI series to prepare for the T20 World Cup, which will be played in Australia from October 16 to November 13.
The first three questions Bavuma faced were about him missing out on South Africa’s new flagship T20 league.
The usually calm and composed Bavuma appeared rattled and sounded despondent in his answers.
Probably for the first time as captain of the team, Bavuma looked rather uncomfortable in the face of a storm.
He has earned respect since taking over the white-ball captaincy in March last year of facing up to media questions and scrutiny with a straight face and a level head.
But on Thursday, the picture was a different one, that of disappointment and despondency.
The SA20 snub appeared to have hit Bavuma hard, and rightly so. The world is still shocked.
How can the leader of South Africa’s white-ball cricket - essentially the country’s limited-overs face – not be a part of the country’s premium T20 league?
His snub is still reverberating across the cricket world and is a raging topic of discussion on social media.
Perhaps as his way of softening the blow, Bavuma said he has not followed the news on social media, where his snub has divided opinions on the platform.
“I guess it is comforting to know that there are people who kind of share the same sentiments that I have.
“To be honest, I don’t know what is happening out there. I know what I am feeling, and I am speaking from that point of view. But I don’t know what is happening out there.”