Temba Bavmua wants to be more than South African cricket’s first black African captain

The importance of becoming South African cricket’s first black African captain is not lost on Temba Bavuma, but that isn’t all he wants to be known for.

“I understand the deeply rooted significance of it all,” he said. “In being the first black African (cricket) captain in our country – you don’t have to look too far in our history and our political situation in our country – so I can completely understand why people in our country would celebrate it for what it is.

“I’d be lying if I said it does not make me think of where everything started for me, and how I’ve been able to go through a journey and get to this point. But combined with being known as the first black African captain, I’d also like to be known as someone who led the team very well and created a legacy for himself.”

Bavuma was unveiled as South Africa’s white-ball captain and red-ball vice-captain on Thursday, two days after he was asked if he wanted to do the job by the powers that be and four days after he led his domestic franchise, the Lions, to a second T20 title in three years.

“I was offered the position as captain and it came to me as a surprise, but it was a no-brainer,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people would turn down this type of honour and privilege.

“Obviously there’s anxiety about not knowing what to expect but a lot of comfort comes from the fact that I know my players and the people who have entrusted me with the decision, I draw a lot of confidence from that because those are people of stature.”

People like South Africa’s most successful captain, Graeme Smith, who is now Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket and was instrumental to the process of appointing Bavuma, alongside selection convener Victor Mpitsang.

“We’ve always known about Temba’s leadership qualities.” Smith said. We wanted to provide a space of support and get behind Temba and get him playing well again.

“We’ve noticed his leadership credentials, the way he’s been operating in the squad and experience he brings. The nature of his tactical captaincy at the Lions, and the feedback we’ve received from within the squad — from the managers and coaches — has been really positive around Temba.”

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