Bavuma on being SA's first black African cricket captain: 'The significance is not lost on me'

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Temba Bavuma (Gallo)
Temba Bavuma (Gallo)
  • Newly appointed Proteas limited overs captain Temba Bavuma said the significance of being the first black African cricketer to hold the position isn't lost on him.
  • Bavuma replaces Quinton de Kock, who took over from Faf du Plessis after the terrible 2019 Cricket World Cup.
  • Bavuma, who has played six ODIs, also scored an ODI hundred on debut against Ireland in 2016.

Newly appointed Proteas limited overs captain Temba Bavuma says the significance of him being the first black African captain is not lost on him.

His appointment, which was confirmed two days ago and confirmed by Sport24 on Wednesday, means he becomes the first black African captain to lead the national team in any format. 

Bavuma, who has played in his six ODIs, but 44 Tests and eight T20s, may not quite have the international limited overs experience, but he has the domestic trophies with the Lions to back up his claims.

He is also the only black South African batsman with a Test 100 to his credit, and on Thursday he said he understood why his appointment would be celebrated.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t mean anything to me. I understand the deep-rooted significance of being the first black African captain. I guess with our history, you don’t have to look too far away, while also looking at our political situation,” Bavuma said.

“I can completely understand why people in our country would celebrate. I’d be lying if I said it did not make me think of where everything started for me, how I’ve been able to go through that journey.”

Bavuma may only have one ODI ton that he scored on his debut against Ireland in Benoni in 2016, but at the time, it earmarked him as a player who could contribute in the future.

The thick competition for places in the ODI setup meant he didn’t get the consistent run he craved.

On his return to the national team in the aftermath of the disastrous 2019 Cricket World Cup, he cemented himself in the ODI team with consistent performances against England and Australia.

Bavuma wants to be remembered as more than just the first black African captain.

“I still stick to my sentiments that from a pure ambition perspective, as much as I am the first black African captain, there are ambitions that I would like to achieve as a player. Combined with being known as the first black African captain, I also want to be known as a person who led the team well and created a legacy for himself,” Bavuma said.

Bavuma said the captaincy call was a surprise, but there was no way he was going to turn down the opportunity.

The 30-year-old from Langa in Cape Town said the support he has received from director of cricket Graeme Smith, selection convenor Victor Mpitsang and coach Mark Boucher gives him a high degree of comfort for the job.

“It did come to me as a surprise, but it was a no brainer. I don’t think that many people would turn down this type of honour and privilege. It’s a couple of days now and I feel a bit calmer and at peace with the decision. There is the anxiety of not knowing what to expect and how to expect it,” Bavuma said.

“A lot of comfort comes from the fact I know my players and the people who have entrusted me with the position in Graeme, Victor and Mark.

“I draw a lot of confidence from that because those are people of high stature and I take it as something that’s part of my journey. I can only look forward to what is to come.”

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