Temba Bavuma has had an assembly of critics and naysayers gathered against him, so the Proteas captain said his brilliant century to set up the series-clinching win over England in the second ODI, and his passionate celebration, were a reminder that he belongs. Upon completing his third ODI century in his 21st innings, off just…
Temba Bavuma has had an assembly of critics and naysayers gathered against him, so the Proteas captain said his brilliant century to set up the series-clinching win over England in the second ODI, and his passionate celebration, were a reminder that he belongs.
Upon completing his third ODI century in his 21st innings, off just 90 balls, Bavuma did his trademark leap in the air, but then pointed to his name on the back of his shirt and thumped the Proteas badge on the front.
The skipper finished with 109 off 102 deliveries, laying the platform for South Africa’s third-highest chase in ODIs, solid contributions from the rest of the batting line-up taking them to their target of 343 with five balls to spare.
“It was quite an emotional moment and the celebration wasn’t planned,” Bavuma said. “It was a reminder to myself and everyone that I am still here and I deserve to be here.
“It’s probably up there with one of my better hundreds. Chasing 343, you need to play well and, as captain, you want to lead from the front and inspire the guys through your performance.
“I felt it was a good pitch and I knew I had to come out and play, the opportunity was there, encouraging us to go for runs with a lot to chase. I tried to be as brave as I could be.”
“It’s been a crazy emotional rollercoaster the last couple of months and it can be draining. As much as you try to block out the outside noise, it does find a way to affect you. The biggest thing is the way it affects your family and those around you,” Bavuma said.
Able to profit
The gutsy opener was also able to profit from a straightforward chat with stand-in white-ball coach, and new Test mentor, Shukri Conrad, before the start of the series.
“I’ve worked with Shuks before and I was able to be vulnerable to the coach about where I see myself,” Bavuma said. “He helped me cut through all the nonsense in my head.
“It was more about him lending an ear and validating the feelings I had, getting me in the right state of mind. Shuks is not a therapist, but it was the clarity and honesty that he gave me.
“So I was really mentally there for the series. Being away from the game, at home, for the last two weeks also helped, I was mentally fresh, with a clear head, after going through some self-reflection.
“We all go through ups and downs in life, the difference with us is it is all in the public eye and everyone wants a piece of you. But I’m quite a resolute guy and you’ve got to block out the noise,” Bavuma said.
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