Flourishing Bavuma admits Boucher saga is making a hard job even more challenging

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Temba Bavuma. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)
Temba Bavuma. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)
  • Proteas ODI skipper Temba Bavuma admitted that the current drama surrounding head coach Mark Boucher's future has made an already challenging captaincy tenure a bit harder.
  • The 31-year-old said his biggest focus has been to keep his team-mates focused and "managed conversations in the change room".
  • But Bavuma is clearly relishing the responsibility given the 3-0 series win over India, which has also seen his own form with the bat being good.

Captaining any South African national sporting team is onerous by design, but Proteas ODI skipper Temba Bavuma admitted that the local game's current off-field dramas render that responsibility that much more challenging.

The diminutive right-hander led his side to a memorable 3-0 series whitewash over India by virtue of a narrow four-run victory at Newlands despite the twin distractions of the match being a dead rubber as well as head coach Mark Boucher's pending disciplinary hearing, which starts on Wednesday.

Boucher is charged with gross misconduct by Cricket South Africa (CSA) related to alleged subliminal and overt racist behaviour as a former national player as well as during his current tenure.

"Look, I don't think it's easy to captain [any] national team. There are a lot of dynamics that you need to manage. For me, it's always about keeping the cricket the main focus among the guys," said Bavuma.

"I hate to bring this up, but it's been a challenging period for the team, for the players, for particular members of team management. There's been a lot of scrutiny surrounding the team and the organisation."

As a result, the 31-year-old - who's gained widespread plaudits for his calm and diplomatic persona without tip-toeing around important issues - has had his hands full to keep team morale high.

Judging by the past week's results, those efforts were fruitful, with Boucher himself praising Bavuma for his leadership.

"It's been about managing the conversations that happen in the change room, to ensure that our energy is 100% directed towards performing out on the field. 

"For me, that's been the biggest challenge and it's a big responsibility, but it's also been a bit of a privilege," said Bavuma.

While Bavuma mentioned in an earlier television interview that captaincy has been liberating to him mentally because it allows him to think less about his own game and focus on the collective, a haul of 153 runs at an average of 51 certainly suggested that his form isn't suffering.

"I enjoy the captaincy. It seems to have brought the benefit of that showing in my own performances too," he said.

"I enjoy the tactical side of things. There's a lot of thinking involved. And that thinking extends to your own game too. I suppose I'm a bit more clearer in terms of what I want myself to do.

"I'm always trying to assess the situation and come up with solutions. That's probably the reason why the form has come with the captaincy."

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