Bavuma admits 3-month injury was tough on him: 'It was quite difficult mentally'

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Temba Bavuma receives medical attention during the 4th T20 against India in June (Getty)
Temba Bavuma receives medical attention during the 4th T20 against India in June (Getty)
  • Proteas white-ball skipper Temba Bavuma admitted the three months out injured have been tough on him mentally.
  • Bavuma missed the entire England tour after hurting his elbow during a T20 against India in June.
  • He recovered in time to lead the Proteas to the T20 World Cup in Australia next month.

Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma admitted that the last three months out with an elbow injury have been the toughest to deal with mentally.

The 32-year-old injured his elbow during a T20 international against India in June, which ruled him out of SA’s recent tour to England.

But he recovered in time to lead South Africa to a return to India for three T20s and ODIs that preface the T20 World Cup, where he will once again take charge on the pitch.

Sibusiso Mjikeliso | SA20 shows decades of targets have failed, time to transform transformation

"To be honest, the past two-and-a-half to three months have been one of the toughest from an injury point of view," said Bavuma on the eve of the team's departure to India, set for Friday.

"It's been definitely frustrating. It was nice to also be involved in the game from a different perspective as a commentator and an analyst. That was a nice way to keep me in the game.

"Going through that period, not really knowing when I’m going to recover, that was quite difficult mentally.

"But, look, I'm here now and my elbow feels good. I obviously opted against the surgery but it feels good.

"I feel excited and blessed to have the opportunity again to play in South African colours and running out there with the guys."

Bavuma has unwittingly been in the news again this week after he was shockingly omitted from the new SA20 global T20 league auction held in Cape Town on Monday.

'I don’t expect words of sympathy'

While the Proteas gathered for a team-building getaway in Paarl, at the auction Bavuma's name did the rounds twice and none of the six franchises flinched.

His omission sent shockwaves across the country and the white-ball skipper admitted to feeling "disappointed and let down".

Even Cricket South Africa board chairperson Lawson Naidoo and SA20 commissioner Graeme Smith expressed disappointment that Bavuma wasn't picked up, although they stressed that the ruthless six franchises' autonomy would be respected.

Bavuma and Andile Phehlukwayo (travelling reserve) were the only players in the Proteas’ extended T20 World Cup squad that weren’t selected in the SA20 auction.

However, the presence of his teammates has somewhat salved some of the personal disappointment Bavuma felt, although he said he expected no sympathetic words from the people he considered his friends.

READ | Bavuma snub: CSA, commissioner Smith 'disappointed' but new SA20's 'independence' stressed

"We had our team building activity in Cape Town and it’s been nice to see the guys after such a long time," Bavuma said.

"With the guys in the team, our friendships and relationships go far beyond being teammates; we’re friends off the field.

"Guys being there in terms of their presence has been enough for me. I don’t expect words of sympathy or anything like that.

"Just the guys being there in their presence, knowing that, with us being together for the next few weeks there’ll be an opportunity for us to create memories, experiences that we’ll remember … that for me was enough."

The Proteas also went to Robben Island Museum, where they soaked in some "Madiba Magic", a potion of Nelson Mandela inspiration, ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next month.

"The trip to Robben Island was inspirational for a lot of us in the team," said Bavuma.

"It definitely strengthened our sense of purpose, for me at least and I’m sure the guys would have felt something close to that."

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