- Temba Bavuma says being appointed as the Proteas limited overs captain wasn't something he thought was realistic.
- Bavuma replaces Quinton de Kock as limited overs captain and also assumes the Test vice-captaincy as Dean Elgar's deputy.
- Bavuma may have played in a combined 14 limited overs international games, but has plenty of Test and domestic leadership experience to fall back on.
Proteas limited overs captain Temba Bavuma said him being appointed captain wasn’t something he thought was realistic.
He may be a veteran of 44 Tests and will also be Dean Elgar’s vice-captain in whites, but his body of work of only six ODIs and eight T20s meant he was an outlier from a leadership perspective.
His all-round leadership success when he drops down to play for the Lions put him in one of the driving seats.
Bavuma may have an ODI ton that he made on debut to his credit, but consistent limited overs opportunities have only come thick and fast after the 2019 Cricket World Cup calamity.
Bavuma said he could see his own growth path, but not in the way that would lead him to national team captaincy.
“I never thought that was something that was realistic. It was never something that was in my sights to be honest. The ambition to play white-ball cricket was always there though. I could see the growth in my game and I guess it was a matter of time before all those opportunities came about my way,” Bavuma said.
“I would have never thought that two to three years down the line, I would be sitting in the position that I’m in now.”
The Proteas limited overs leadership, one Bavuma will hold through two International Cricket Council tournaments, isn’t a poisoned chalice.
However, the fact he’s moved into this position with the team being in transition makes it an unenviable task.
It’s one Bavuma is ready for, but something that he also finds daunting as the first black African captain.
“It is quite a scary and daunting prospect, but I think there's a lot of excitement to it. Whether I’m ready or not, time will tell, but what I can say is that I’m super willing and committed to the process and the journey. I would also like to lead the guys to something special,” Bavuma said.
“I am willing to learn and grow in the position, while essentially trying to add value in the team. I do understand the pressure that comes with being captain.”
Success at the Lions has come thick and fast with Bavuma at the helm. That means the secret of that success, despite the obvious gulf in franchise and international cricket, needs to be shared.
Bavuma, who said he still needs to digest the good news that came his way properly, said selflessness was at the heart of everything good the Lions did.
“If I look at how we’ve been going at the Lions, everything we do is for the collective benefit of the team. It’s a selfless environment that we’ve existed in there that has been for the betterment of the team. I hope as time goes on, I’ll think deeply with regards to the things we’ve done well at the Lions and transplant them in the national team,” Bavuma said.
“I’m still trying to digest the good news and it’ll take time for this to sink in. At some point, I’ll have to properly apply my mind to the task that lies ahead."